Simvastatin INDICATIONS, USAGE and Warnings
Therapy with lipid-altering agents should be only one component of multiple risk factor intervention in individuals at significantly increased risk for atherosclerotic vascular disease due to hypercholesterolemia. Drug therapy is indicated as an adjunct to diet when the response to a diet restricted in saturated fat and cholesterol and other nonpharmacologic measures alone has been inadequate. In patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) or at high risk of CHD, simvastatin can be started simultaneously with diet.Reductions in Risk of CHD Mortality and Cardiovascular Events
In patients at high risk of coronary events because of existing coronary heart disease, diabetes, peripheral vessel disease, history of stroke or other cerebrovascular disease, simvastatin tablets, USP are indicated to:
Simvastatin tablets, USP are indicated to:
Simvastatin tablets, USP are indicated as an adjunct to diet to reduce total-C, LDL-C, and Apo B levels in adolescent boys and girls who are at least one year post-menarche, 10-17 years of age, with HeFH, if after an adequate trial of diet therapy the following findings are present:
Limitations of Use
Simvastatin tablets, USP have not been studied in conditions where the major abnormality is elevation of chylomicrons (i.e., hyperlipidemia Fredrickson types I and V).
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The dosage range is 5-80 mg/day. In patients with CHD or at high risk of CHD, simvastatin tablets can be started simultaneously with diet. The recommended usual starting dose is 20 to 40 mg once a day in the evening. For patients at high risk for a CHD event due to existing CHD, diabetes, peripheral vessel disease, history of stroke or other cerebrovascular disease, the recommended starting dose is 40 mg/day. Lipid determinations should be performed after 4 weeks of therapy and periodically thereafter.Patients with Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia
The recommended dosage is 40 mg/day in the evening or 80 mg/day in 3 divided doses of 20 mg, 20 mg, and an evening dose of 40 mg. Simvastatin tablets should be used as an adjunct to other lipid-lowering treatments (e.g., LDL apheresis) in these patients or if such treatments are unavailable.Adolescents (10-17 years of age) with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia
The recommended usual starting dose is 10 mg once a day in the evening. The recommended dosing range is 10-40 mg/day; the maximum recommended dose is 40 mg/day. Doses should be individualized according to the recommended goal of therapy [see NCEP Pediatric Panel Guidelines 1 and Clinical Studies ]. Adjustments should be made at intervals of 4 weeks or more.
National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP): Highlights of the Report of the Expert Panel on Blood Cholesterol Levels in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics. 89(3):495-501. 1992.
Patients with Renal Impairment
Because simvastatin tablets do not undergo significant renal excretion, modification of dosage should not be necessary in patients with mild to moderate renal impairment. However, caution should be exercised when simvastatin tablets are administered to patients with severe renal impairment; such patients should be started at 5 mg/day and be closely monitored [see Warnings and Precautions and Clinical Pharmacology ].
Coadministration with Other Drugs
Concomitant Lipid-Lowering Therapy
Patients taking Cyclosporine or Danazol
Patients taking Amiodarone or Verapamil
The dose of simvastatin tablets should not exceed 20 mg/day [see Warnings and Precautions , Drug Interactions, and Clinical Pharmacology ].
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Simvastatin is contraindicated in the following conditions:
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Simvastatin, like other statins, occasionally causes myopathy manifested as muscle pain, tenderness or weakness with creatine kinase (CK) above ten times the upper limit of normal (ULN). Myopathy sometimes takes the form of rhabdomyolysis with or without acute renal failure secondary to myoglobinuria, and rare fatalities have occurred. The risk of myopathy is increased by high levels of statin activity in plasma. Predisposing factors for myopathy include advanced age (≥65 years), uncontrolled hypothyroidism, and renal impairment.
As with other statins, the risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis is dose related. In a clinical trial database in which 41,050 patients were treated with simvastatin with 24,747 (approximately 60%) treated for at least 4 years, the incidence of myopathy was approximately 0.02%, 0.08% and 0.53% at 20, 40 and 80 mg/day, respectively. In these trials, patients were carefully monitored and some interacting medicinal products were excluded.
All patients starting therapy with simvastatin, or whose dose of simvastatin is being increased, should be advised of the risk of myopathy and told to report promptly any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness. Simvastatin therapy should be discontinued immediately if myopathy is diagnosed or suspected. In most cases, muscle symptoms and CK increases resolved when treatment was promptly discontinued. Periodic CK determinations may be considered in patients starting therapy with simvastatin or whose dose is being increased, but there is no assurance that such monitoring will prevent myopathy.
Many of the patients who have developed rhabdomyolysis on therapy with simvastatin have had complicated medical histories, including renal insufficiency usually as a consequence of long-standing diabetes mellitus. Such patients merit closer monitoring. Therapy with simvastatin should be temporarily stopped a few days prior to elective major surgery and when any major medical or surgical condition supervenes.
The risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis is increased by high levels of statin activity in plasma. Simvastatin is metabolized by the cytochrome P450 isoform 3A4. Certain drugs which inhibit this metabolic pathway can raise the plasma levels of simvastatin and may increase the risk of myopathy. These include itraconazole, ketoconazole, and other antifungal azoles, the macrolide antibiotics erythromycin and clarithromycin, and the ketolide antibiotic telithromycin, HIV protease inhibitors, the antidepressant nefazodone, or large quantities of grapefruit juice ( less then1 quart daily). The use of simvastatin concomitantly with these CYP3A4 inhibitors should be avoided. If treatment with itraconazole, ketoconazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin or telithromycin is unavoidable, therapy with simvastatin should be suspended during the course of treatment. [See Drug Interactions ]
The benefits of the combined use of simvastatin with the following drugs should be carefully weighed against the potential risks of combinations: gemfibrozil, other lipid-lowering drugs (other fibrates or ≥1 g/day of niacin), cyclosporine, danazol, amiodarone, or verapamil.
Caution should be used when prescribing other fibrates or lipid-lowering doses (≥1 g/day) of niacin with simvastatin, as these agents can cause myopathy when given alone.
Prescribing recommendations for interacting agents are summarized in Table 1 [see also Dosage and Administration , Drug Interactions , Clinical Pharmacology ].
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