How do Zocor (simvastatin) tablets work?
Zocor (simvastatin) blocks an enzyme that creates new cholesterol in the liver and helps to bring down the risk of cardiovascular problems. These treatments are just one way to reduce this risk – you should take further dietary and lifestyle measures to help reduce your risk even further.
Our main high cholesterol information page offers advice about lifestyle measures that will help you bring your levels down.
How to take Zocor (simvastatin) tablets
Zocor (simvastatin) is available in four strengths: 10mg, 20mg, 40mg, and 80mg tablets.
For the treatment of high cholesterol levels, the dosage for adults tends to start at 10mg to 20mg once daily – your current cholesterol level and risk of future cardiovascular problems will be taken into account. After around four weeks or sometimes more, your doctor may increase the dosage to a maximum of 80mg once a day, although this high dose is uncommon.
Your body usually responds to the medicine within one to two weeks – the maximum response time is around four weeks.
Take Zocor (simvastatin) once a day, in the evening, with a glass of water. It can be taken with or without food. Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking Zocor (simvastatin) because this can significantly increase the amount of simvastatin in the blood, which makes you more likely to experience side effects.
Are Zocor (simvastatin) tablets suitable for me?
Zocor (simvastatin) should be used with caution, or in certain circumstances would not be recommended. For example, if you have a low risk of developing heart problems in the future or your cholesterol levels are normal, if you're aged under 18, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or suffer from liver or kidney problems. Other situations include hypothyroidism, a muscle disorder (or a family history of muscle disorders), and if you're allergic to any of the active or inactive ingredients.
Whether from your doctor or purchased from a pharmacy, let the online doctor know of any other medicines you are taking. Zocor (simvastatin) can cause problems if taken with certain other medicines, including those that affect the way the body breaks down other medicines (including itraconazole, ketoconazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin, and ciclosporin), warfarin and other anti-coagulants, calcium channel blockers (such as amlodipine, verapamil, and diltiazem), amiodarone, fusidic acid, and St John's Wort (a herbal medicine for depression). Cholesterol lowering medicines such as bezafibrate, fenofibrate, and gemfibrozil can also cause problems when mixed with Zocor.
To ensure the doctor has all the information required to assess your individual risk of heart problems and give you the appropriate treatment, give them a full picture of your general health.
What are the side effects of Zocor (simvastatin) tablets?
Like all medicines, Zocor (simvastatin) may cause potential side effects – please note that not everyone will suffer them. Side effects are generally considered to be rare, but can include muscle aches and pains, headaches, memory loss, anaemia, stomach upsets, skin reactions such as rashes or itching, fatigue, and sexual dysfunction. Interstitial lung disease has been reported, albeit rarely, from taking Zocor. If a cough or shortness of breath develops, you should stop taking Zocor (simvastatin) and consult with your doctor straight away.
Unexplained muscle pains, tenderness, cramps, or weakness is another side effect – if you experience these, stop taking Zocor (simvastatin) and talk to your doctor. These treatments can, in rare cases, cause a type of muscle inflammation, so your doctor may alter your dose, or decide that another type of medicine would be better for you.
Read the patient leaflet provided in the pack before starting any course of treatment. The leaflets can also be viewed online here:
The doctor may need you to have a blood test before they prescribe Zocor (simvastatin) to you for the first time, and again after you start taking the tablets. This is to make sure that your cholesterol levels are responding to the tablets, and to make sure your liver is in good health.