What is Simvastatin and what it is used for?
Simvastatin belongs to a group of medicines called statins.
It’s used to lower cholesterol if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol. It’s also taken to prevent heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
Your doctor may prescribe simvastatin if you have a family history of heart disease, or a long-term health condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, or type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
The medicine is available on prescription as tablets. You can also buy a low-strength 10mg tablet from a pharmacy.
Who can and can’t take simvastatin
Simvastatin can be taken by adults and children over the age of 10 years.
Simvastatin isn’t suitable for some people. Tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to simvastatin or any other medicines in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- are trying to get pregnant, think you might be pregnant, you’re already pregnant, or you’re breastfeeding
- have severe lung disease
- regularly drink large amounts of alcohol
- have an underactive thyroid
- have, or have had, a muscle disorder (including fibromyalgia)
What are the side effects?
Simvastatin seems to be a very safe medicine and it’s unusual to have side effects. However, different statins can affect people in different ways.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if side effects bother you or don’t go away. They may recommend taking a different statin.
One rare but serious side effect is unexplained muscle aches and pains. This is more likely if you’re taking a higher dose of simvastatin – and it can happen a few weeks or months after you first start taking this medicine. Report any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness to a doctor straight away.
Another very rare side effect can be memory loss. This usually goes away when you stop taking the medicine.
Serious side effects
It happens rarely, but less than 1 in 1,000 people taking simvastatin may have a serious side effect.
Stop taking simvastatin and call a doctor if you get:
- muscle pain, tenderness, weakness or cramps – these can be signs of muscle breakdown and kidney damage
- yellow skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow, or if you have pale poo and dark pee – this can be a sign of liver problems
- a skin rash with pink-red blotches, especially on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
- severe stomach pain – this can be a sign of pancreas problems
- a cough, feeling short of breath, and weight loss – this can be a sign of lung disease
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to simvastatin.