How Should I Use This Medication
Before or when starting simvastatin, you should be placed on a cholesterol-lowering diet. If appropriate, a health care professional will discuss an individualized program of weight control and physical exercise with you.
When it is being used to reduce cholesterol levels, the usual starting dose of this medication is 10 mg taken by mouth, once a day, in the evening.
For children between the ages of 10 and 17, who have an inherited cholesterol disorder, the usual starting dose is also 10 mg taken by mouth once a day, in the evening.
The usual starting dose of simvastatin to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke is 40 mg taken by mouth once a day, in the evening.
Your doctor may adjust the dose after a period of time, depending on how well it is working for you or how well you are tolerating the medication. The maximum daily dose for children and adolescents 10 to 17 years of age is 40 mg. For adults, the maximum recommended daily dose is 80 mg, which may be used for some people who have been taking this amount for a long time with no muscle problems or people at high risk of heart disease who have problems taking other “statins.” The maximum daily dose may be lower for people taking certain medications.
For best results in lowering your cholesterol, it is very important that you closely follow the diet suggested by your doctor.
Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.
How To Handle Side Effects
Donât stop taking your cholesterol drugs even if they donât make you feel great. Instead, talk to your doctor. There are a few ways they might be able to help you feel better:
Take a brief break. If you have muscle pain, your doctor may tell you to stop taking your drug for a short time and then start it again within a month. The time off can show if your medicine is causing the pain or if itâs due to another problem.
Check your other meds. If you take cholesterol drugs and other medicines, you might be more likely to have side effects. Tell your doctor about everything you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter meds, and supplements.
Get a lower dosage. Your doctor may try to reduce how much of your medicine you take. You might also be able to take a pill every other day instead of daily.
Switch treatments. If your side effects are too hard to handle, you might be able to try a different statin such pravastatin and rosuvastatin , which are less likely to cause muscle aches.The cholesterol drug ezetimibe may allow you to take a lower statin dose and thereby help relieve your muscle pain, for example.
Consider OTC treatments. Statins may lower levels of a substance in your muscles called coenzyme Q10, and that can cause pain. You may try taking CoQ10 supplements to get relief. Another option, L-carnitine, might help, too. But always talk to your doctor before you start taking any medicine, even ones you buy without a prescription.
Statin Side Effects Can Often Be Overcome: Study
By Genevra Pittman, Reuters Health
4 Min Read
NEW YORK – Most people who stop taking cholesterol-lowering statins – because of side effects or for another reason – are able to restart the same drug or a similar one without lasting problems, a new study suggests.
Thats important because for people who need statins, quitting them for good increases the chance of serious heart problems, researchers said, so doctors and patients should think carefully before letting milder reactions lead them to give up on the drugs altogether.
Its really common that patients hear from their friends or read on the Internet that there are all these side effects and they say, Ill never take a statin again, said Dr. Alexander Turchin, who worked on the new study at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston.
But most side effects are not an absolute contraindication, he told Reuters Health. There might be a way around it, so its really worth giving it at least one more try.
About one-quarter of U.S. adults age 45 and older take statins to protect against heart attacks and strokes. The drugs are especially recommended for people with diabetes or a history of cardiovascular problems.
They run anywhere from $11 to more than $200 per month.
Side effects of statins include muscle pain, nausea and gas and liver dysfunction. Some studies suggest the rate of side effects may be as low as 5 to 10 percent, but others have found muscle problems alone among more than one in five statin users.
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Common And Serious Side Effects Of Statins
Statins are medications that reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Doctors typically prescribe these drugs to patients who have elevated cholesterol, and they can also be prescribed to prevent and treat atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries. Research indicates statins help reduce a patient’s risk of strokes, heart attacks, and death from cardiovascular disease by as much as thirty-five percent. Atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin are some of the most commonly prescribed statins, and some patients also combine these with newer injectable drugs that can aid in reducing cholesterol. While statins are well tolerated by many individuals, certain patients are at an increased risk of developing side effects. For example, female patients and individuals over eighty years old are more likely to experience side effects, and patients who have liver or kidney issues could also have more unwanted side effects. When using statins, patients may need to have regular blood tests to monitor their cholesterol. The test results can be used to tailor treatment to the patient’s needs.
The side effects discussed below are some of those patients might observe during treatment with statins.
When To Talk With Your Doctor
Like most medications, Lipitor may cause side effects.
Most side effects caused by Lipitor are mild and typically go away on their own. However, there are some rare but serious side effects reported by people using the drug in clinical trials. These include myopathy, rhabdomyolysis, and liver damage.
Also, its very important that you immediately stop taking Lipitor and contact your doctor if you become pregnant while taking it.
If youd like to learn more about Lipitor and its side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about this drug.
Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some research on your own. These articles might help:
- More information on Lipitor. For details on other aspects of Lipitor, refer to this article.
- A look at your condition. For details about cholesterol, see our list of related articles. To learn more about cardiovascular disease, Medical News Todayscardiovascular health hub and this list of related articles may be helpful.
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Take Multiple Medications For High Cholesterol
If you take more than one high-cholesterol medication, you are at a higher risk for statin side effects because you are increasing the number of drugs in your body.
Its important to tell your doctor exactly which medications you are taking to make sure that nothing will interact and that everything is dosed properly.
Lifestyle Therapy: The First Step
With so many people in need and so many medications available, it’s understandable that both doctors and their patients are tempted to rely on medications to improve unhealthy cholesterol levels. That’s a mistake. Instead, lifestyle therapy is the place to start. That means avoiding tobacco in all its forms. It also means choosing foods low in saturated fat, trans-fatty acids, and cholesterol while favoring foods that provide heart-healthy omega-3 and monounsaturated fats and large amounts of dietary fiber. It also requires regular exercise, which can be as simple as walking at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes nearly every day. And the combination of a good diet and regular exercise should help men achieve another important goal, weight control.
Lifestyle therapy can improve cholesterol levels, and certain foods can provide extra help . But even with clean living, many people need medication to achieve optimal cholesterol levels, particularly when they have to reduce their LDL levels to 100 mg/dL or less. It’s important to keep up a good diet and exercise program even if you take medication. And if you can’t take a statin, here is a rundown of other medications that can help Table 3 summarizes their effects on blood lipids and compares them to the statins.
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Increased Liver Enzyme Levels
Increased liver enzyme levels are a possible side effect of Zetia. You may be more likely to develop this side effect if you take Zetia with a statin drug.
In studies, some people had to stop taking Zetia because of this side effect.
An increase in levels of liver enzymes doesnt usually cause any symptoms. But it may be a sign that your liver isnt working as well as it should. Symptoms of liver damage include:
What might help
If you have any of the above symptoms of liver damage, tell your doctor right away.
During Zetia treatment, your doctor will likely recommend blood tests. These tests will look at your cholesterol levels and also your liver enzyme levels. If you develop increased liver enzyme levels, your doctor may make changes to your treatment plan.
Muscle Pain Or Weakness
Its possible that youll have muscle pain or weakness with Lipitor. Most people who took the drug in clinical trials didnt report these effects, though.
What you can do
Because muscle pain or weakness can be a sign of more serious side effects caused by Lipitor, its important to tell your doctor about them.
Tell your doctor right away if you have muscle pain or weakness that:
- happens without a reason, such as exercise
- doesnt go away
Dangers Of Statin Drugs: What You Havent Been Told About Popular Cholesterol
Hypercholesterolemia is the health issue of the 21st century. It is actually an invented disease, a problem that emerged when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol exhibits no outward signsunlike other conditions of the blood, such as diabetes or anemia, diseases that manifest telltale symptoms like thirst or weaknesshypercholesterolemia requires the services of a physician to detect its presence. Many people who feel perfectly healthy suffer from high cholesterolin fact, feeling good is actually a symptom of high cholesterol!
Doctors who treat this new disease must first convince their patients that they are sick and need to take one or more expensive drugs for the rest of their lives, drugs that require regular checkups and blood tests. But such doctors do not work in a vacuumtheir efforts to convert healthy people into patients are bolstered by the full weight of the US government, the media and the medical establishment, agencies that have worked in concert to disseminate the cholesterol dogma and convince the population that high cholesterol is the forerunner of heart disease and possibly other diseases as well.
The drugs that doctors use to treat the new disease are called statinssold under a variety of names including Lipitor , Zocor , Mevacor and Pravachol .
Demographic Factors And Statin Side Effects
Because most research on statins has involved middle-aged, white participants, there is less information available about side effects in people of color and older adult groups.
Some studies have indicated that people of East Asian descent may be more likely to experience side effects from statins.
But a large 2016 study with racially and ethnically diverse participants found that Asian people and Hispanic people experienced the same cholesterol-lowering benefits as white participants, as well as no increase in side effects.
The same study also grouped participants into categories of male and female, finding that the statin lowered LDL cholesterol equally well for both categories.
If youre over age 75, some research suggests you may be at of muscle problems related to statins. But for many older adults, the benefits of statins for preventing heart attack and stroke outweigh this risk.
One study found that 75-year-olds who stopped taking statins had a 33 percent higher risk of being hospitalized for a cardiovascular event, versus those of the same age who continued to take statins.
Its best to discuss potential benefits and side effects with your doctor to find out whether statins are right for you.
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Pregnancy And Breastfeeding While Taking Zetia
Its not known if Zetia is safe to take during pregnancy. Its also not known if the drug is safe to take while breastfeeding or whether the drug passes into breast milk.
If youre pregnant or breastfeeding, or if youre planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, tell your doctor. Theyll guide you on the safest treatment options for you.
When You Need Themand When You Dont
Your body makes a waxy substance called cholesterol. You also get it from food. Your body needs it, but too much cholesterol in your blood can clog your arteries. This increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and death.
Statins are drugs that lower your cholesterol. But if you are age 75 or older and you havent had symptoms of heart disease, statins may be a bad idea. Heres why:
Adults age 75 and older may not need statins.
Many older adults have high cholesterol. Their doctors usually prescribe statins to prevent heart disease.
But for older people, there is no clear evidence that high cholesterol leads to heart disease or death. In fact, some studies show the oppositethat older people with the lowest cholesterol levels actually have the highest risk of death.
Statins have risks.
Compared to younger adults, older adults are more likely to suffer serious side effects from using statins.
Statins can cause muscle problems, such as aches, pains, or weakness. Rarely, there can be a severe form of muscle breakdown.
In older adults, statins can also cause:
- Memory loss and confusion
- Nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.
Often, older adults take many drugs. These can interact with statins and lead to serious problems. Side effects, like muscle pain, may increase. Statins can also cause a fatal reaction when taken with heart-rhythm drugs.
Statins may increase the risk of type-2 diabetes and cataracts, as well as damage to the liver, kidneys, and nerves.
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Watch For Signs Of Possible Side Effects
Many of Lipitors most serious side effects may not be evident until theyve become serious problems. Keep watch for any muscle problems, including muscle aches, tenderness, or unusual weakness. Even if the muscle pain seems mild, tell a doctor who can order special lab tests to see if there is any muscle damage.
Rarely, Lipitor can cause changes in thinking or memory. If mental abilities seem to be deteriorating, talk to your prescribing doctor. Lipitor can also damage the liver, so look for signs of liver impairment, such as jaundice , dark urine, tiredness, or pain in the upper right part of the stomach area.
You may need to switch to a different medication or discontinue statins altogether if you experience any muscle, liver, or cognitive problems.
Side Effects Not Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
Some side effects of atorvastatin may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- lower back or side pain
- pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
- painful or difficult urination
- continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
- difficult, burning, or painful urination
- difficulty seeing at night
- excessive muscle tone or tension
- fruit-like breath odor
- inability to have or keep an erection
- increased body movements
- increased sensitivity of the eyes to light
- increased sensitivity to touch or pain
- increased thirst
- loss of sexual ability, drive, or desire
- menstrual bleeding occurring earlier or lasting longer than usual
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- swollen or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
- unable to move or feel face
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Applies to atorvastatin: oral tablet
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Lipitor Side Effects In Older Adults
In clinical trials, there werent differences in side effects reported in older adults taking Lipitor.
However, adults ages 65 years and older may have a higher risk of muscle problems from Lipitor. This includes muscle pain or weakness. And it applies to all statin drugs, including Lipitor.
If youre an older adult and youd like to know more about Lipitors side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can review the risks and benefits of this medication.
Learn more about some of the side effects that Lipitor may cause.
What Are Lipitors Side Effects In Males Vs In Females
Lipitors side effects didnt differ between males and females during clinical trials.*
To view some of Lipitors side effects, see the sections above for lists of mild and serious ones. For a full list of side effects that the medication may cause, check out Lipitors patient information.
* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms male and female in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.
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