Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Simvastatin oral suspension is an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (statin) indicated as an adjunctive therapy to diet to: reduce the risk of total mortality by reducing CHD deaths and reduce the risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction, stroke, and the need for revascularization procedures in patients at high risk of coronary events; reduce elevated total-C, LDL-C, Apo B, TG and increase HDL-C in patients with primary hyperlipidemia (heterozygous familial and nonfamilial) and mixed dyslipidemia; reduce elevated TG in patients with hypertriglyceridemia and reduce TG and VLDL-C in patients with primary dysbetalipoproteinemia; reduce total-C and LDL-C in adult patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia; and reduce elevated total-C, LDL-C, and Apo B in boys and postmenarchal girls, 10 to 17 years of age with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia after failing an adequate trial of diet therapy. Common side effects of Simvastatin include
- upper respiratory infection
- abdominal pain
- constipation, and
The dose range of Simvastatin is 5 to 40 mg/day. Simvastatin may interact with azole antifungals, macrolide antibiotics, HIV protease inhibitors, boceprevir, telaprevir, nefazodone, cobicistat-containing products, gemfibrozil, cyclosporine, danazol, verapamil, diltiazem, dronedarone, amiodarone, amlodipine, ranolazine, lomitapide, colchicine, niacin, and grapefruit juice. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Simvastatin oral is not recommended for use during pregnancy; it may harm a fetus. Women taking Simvastatin oral should discuss contraception with their doctor. It is unknown if Simvastatin oral passes into breast milk. Because of the potential for undesirable side effects in a nursing infant, breastfeeding while taking Simvastatin oral is not recommended.
Our Simvastatin oral suspension Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
In the pre-marketing controlled clinical studies and their open extensions (2,423 patients with median duration of follow-up of approximately 18 months), 1.4% of patients were discontinued due to adverse reactions. The most common adverse reactions that led to treatment discontinuation were: gastrointestinal disorders (0.5%), myalgia (0.1%), and arthralgia (0.1%). The most commonly reported adverse reactions (incidence ≥5%) in simvastatin controlled clinical trials were: upper respiratory infections (9.0%), headache (7.4%), abdominal pain (7.3%), constipation (6.6%), and nausea (5.4%).
Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study
In 4S involving 4,444 (age range 35-71 years, 19% women, 100% Caucasians) treated with 20-40 mg/day of simvastatin (n=2,221) or placebo (n=2,223) over a median of 5.4 years, adverse reactions reported in ≥2% of patients and at a rate greater than placebo are shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Adverse Reactions Reported Regardless of
Causality by ≥ 2% of Patients Treated with Simvastatin and Greater than
Placebo in 4S
|Body as a Whole|
|Cardiovascular System Disorders|
|Digestive System Disorders|
|Nervous System / Psychiatric Disorders|
|Respiratory System Disorders|
|Skin / Skin Appendage Disorders|
|Urogenital System Disorders|
|Infection, urinary tract||3.2||3.1|
Heart Protection Study
In the Heart Protection Study (HPS), involving 20,536 patients (age range 40-80 years, 25% women, 97% Caucasians, 3% other races) treated with simvastatin 40 mg/day (n=10,269) or placebo (n=10,267) over a mean of 5 years, only serious adverse reactions and discontinuations due to any adverse reactions were recorded. Discontinuation rates due to adverse reactions were 4.8% in patients treated with simvastatin compared with 5.1% in patients treated with placebo. The incidence of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis was < 0.1% in patients treated with simvastatin.
Other Clinical Studies
In a clinical trial in which 12,064 patients with a history of myocardial infarction were treated with simvastatin (mean follow-up 6.7 years), the incidence of myopathy (defined as unexplained muscle weakness or pain with a serum creatine kinase [CK] >10 times upper limit of normal [ULN]) in patients on 80 mg/day was approximately 0.9% compared with 0.02% for patients on 20 mg/day. The incidence of rhabdomyolysis (defined as myopathy with a CK >40 times ULN) in patients on 80 mg/day was approximately 0.4% compared with 0% for patients on 20 mg/day. The incidence of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, was highest during the first year and then notably decreased during the subsequent years of treatment. In this trial, patients were carefully monitored and some interacting medicinal products were excluded.
Marked persistent increases of hepatic transaminases have been noted [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Elevated alkaline phosphatase and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase have also been reported. About 5% of patients had elevations of CK levels of 3 or more times the normal value on one or more occasions. This was attributable to the noncardiac fraction of CK. [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Adolescent Patients (ages 10 to 17 years)
In a 48-week, controlled study in adolescent boys and girls who were at least 1 year post-menarche, 10 to 17 years of age (43.4% female, 97.7% Caucasians, 1.7% Hispanics, 0.6% Multiracial) with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (n=175), treated with placebo or simvastatin (10 to 40 mg daily), the most common adverse reactions observed in both groups were upper respiratory infection, headache, abdominal pain, and nausea [see Use in Specific Populations and Clinical Studies].
Because the below reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is generally not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. The following additional adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of simvastatin: pruritus, alopecia, a variety of skin changes (e.g., nodules, discoloration, dryness of skin/mucous membranes, changes to hair/nails), dizziness, muscle cramps, myalgia, pancreatitis, paresthesia, peripheral neuropathy, vomiting, anemia, erectile dysfunction, interstitial lung disease, rhabdomyolysis, hepatitis/jaundice, fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure, and depression.
There have been rare reports of immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy associated with statin use [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
An apparent hypersensitivity syndrome has been reported rarely which has included some of the following features: anaphylaxis, angioedema, lupus erythematous-like syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, dermatomyositis, vasculitis, purpura, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, hemolytic anemia, positive ANA, ESR increase, eosinophilia, arthritis, arthralgia, urticaria, asthenia, photosensitivity, fever, chills, flushing, malaise, dyspnea, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
There have been rare postmarketing reports of cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion) associated with statin use. These cognitive issues have been reported for all statins. The reports are generally nonserious, and reversible upon statin discontinuation, with variable times to symptom onset (1 day to years) and symptom resolution (median of 3 weeks).
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Simvastatin (Oral Suspension)