Generic Name: ezetimibe and simvastatin (ez ET i mibe and SIM va stat in)
Brand Name: Vytorin
What is ezetimibe and simvastatin?
Ezetimibe reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.
Simvastatin is in a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or "statins."
Ezetimibe and simvastatin is a combination medicine that reduces blood levels of "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides, while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
Ezetimibe and simvastatin is used together with a low-fat diet and other treatments to lower total cholesterol in adults and children who are at least 10 years old. It is not known whether this medicine reduces your risk of heart disease.
Ezetimibe and simvastatin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about ezetimibe and simvastatin?
You should not use this medicine if you have active liver disease or abnormal liver function tests.
The following drugs should not be used while you are taking ezetimibe and simvastatin: boceprevir, cyclosporine, danazol, gemfibrozil, nefazodone, telaprevir, certain antibiotics (clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin), antifungal medication (itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole), or certain HIV/AIDS medication (atazanavir, cobicistat (Stribild), indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, tipranavir).
Do not use ezetimibe and simvastatin if you are pregnant or if you could become pregnant. Use effective birth control.
Do not breast-feed while using this medicine.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking ezetimibe and simvastatin?
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to simvastatin (Zocor) or ezetimibe (Vytorin, Zetia), or if you have:
active liver disease;
abnormal liver function tests; or
if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
The following drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems if you take them together with ezetimibe and simvastatin. These drugs should not be used while you are taking simvastatin:
an antibiotic--clarithromycin, erythromycin, telithromycin;
antifungal medication--itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole;
hepatitis C medications--boceprevir, telaprevir; or
HIV/AIDS medication--atazanavir, cobicistat (Stribild), indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, tipranavir.
Before you start taking ezetimibe and simvastatin, tell your doctor if you are already using any of these other medicines:
amlodipine (sometimes in combination medicines--Caduet, Exforge, Lotrel, Tekamlo, Tribenzor, Twynsta, Amturnide);
To make sure ezetimibe and simvastatin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
a thyroid disorder;
a history of liver or kidney disease;
a history of liver problems caused by alcohol;
low blood pressure;
an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);
untreated or uncontrolled seizures;
if you drink large amounts of alcohol;
if you are older than 65; or
if you are of Chinese descent.
FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take ezetimibe and simvastatin if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control. Stop using the medicine and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
It is not known whether ezetimibe and simvastatin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How should I take ezetimibe and simvastatin?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
While using this medicine, you may need frequent blood tests.
If you have major surgery or a severe injury or infection, make sure any doctor caring for you knows you are taking ezetimibe and simvastatin.
Ezetimibe and simvastatin is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely. Ezetimibe and simvastatin has not been shown to reduce heart attacks or strokes more than simvastatin alone.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking ezetimibe and simvastatin?
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with this medicine and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products while taking ezetimibe and simvastatin.
If you also take cholestyramine, colesevelam, or colestipol: Space your doses apart in order to take ezetimibe and simvastatin either 2 hours before or 4 hours after you take any of these other medications.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It can raise triglyceride levels and may increase your risk of liver damage.
Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Ezetimibe and simvastatin will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.
Ezetimibe and simvastatin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, simvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
little or no urinating, pain in your side or lower back;
swelling, rapid weight gain;
nausea, upper stomach pain, loss of appetite, unusual tiredness; or
dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Common side effects may include:
cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.
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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect ezetimibe and simvastatin?
Many drugs can interact with ezetimibe and simvastatin. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your medications and any you start or stop using during treatment with ezetimibe and simvastatin, especially:
fenofibrate, fenofibric acid;
a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven);
heart rhythm medicine--amiodarone or dronedarone;
heart or blood pressure medicine--amlodipine, diltiazem, ranolazine, verapamil; or
medicines that contain niacin, or vitamin B3, such as Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others.
This list is not complete and many other drugs can cause serious or life-threatening medical problems if used together with ezetimibe and simvastatin. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.
More about Vytorin (ezetimibe / simvastatin)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about ezetimibe and simvastatin.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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