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Zocor FDA Alerts

The FDA Alert(s) below may be specifically about Zocor or relate to a group or class of drugs which include Zocor (simvastatin).

MedWatch Safety Alerts are distributed by the FDA and published by Drugs.com. Following is a list of possible medication recalls, market withdrawals, alerts and warnings. For the latest FDA MedWatch alerts, go here.

Recent FDA Alert(s) for simvastatin

Statin Drugs - Drug Safety Communication: Class Labeling Change

Feb 28, 2012

Audience: Cardiology, Family Practice, Patients

ISSUE: FDA has approved important safety label changes for the class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. The changes include removal of routine monitoring of liver enzymes from drug labels. Information about the potential for generally non-serious and reversible cognitive side effects and reports of increased blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels has been added to the statin labels.

The lovastatin label has been extensively updated with new contraindications and dose limitations when it is taken with certain medicines that can increase the risk for muscle injury.

Read the FDA Drug Safety Communication for more information.

 

BACKGROUND: Statins are a class of prescription drugs used together with diet and exercise to reduce blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”). Marketed as single-ingredient products, including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Altoprev (lovastatin extended-release), Livalo (pitavastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), and Zocor (simvastatin). Also marketed as combination products, including Advicor (lovastatin/niacin extended-release), Simcor (simvastatin/niacin extended-release),and Vytorin (simvastatin/ezetimibe).

RECOMMENDATION: Healthcare professionals should perform liver enzyme tests before initiating statin therapy in patients and as clinically indicated thereafter. If serious liver injury with clinical symptoms and/or hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice occurs during treatment, therapy should be interrupted. If an alternate etiology is not found, the statin should not be restarted.

Healthcare professionals should follow the recommendations in the lovastatin label regarding drugs that may increase the risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis when used with lovastatin.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/index.cfm
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178


[02/28/2012 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[02/28/2012 - Consumer Update - FDA]

Zocor (simvastatin): Label Change - New Restrictions, Contraindications, and Dose Limitations

Dec 15, 2011

Audience: Family Practice, Cardiology, Pharmacy

Simvastatin sold under the brand-name Zocor, as a single-ingredient generic product, and sold in combination with ezetimibe as Vytorin and in combination with niacin as Simcor

[UPDATED 12/15/2011] FDA notified the public that it has revised the dose limitation for simvastatin from 10 mg to 20 mg when it is co-administered with the cardiac drug amiodarone. The simvastatin drug labels (Zocor and generics, Vytorin) have been updated to reflect this correction.

 

[Posted 06/08/2011]

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals that it is recommending limiting the use of the highest approved dose of the cholesterol-lowering medication simvastatin (80 mg) because of increased risk of muscle damage. Patients taking simvastatin 80 mg daily have an increased risk of myopathy compared to patients taking lower doses of this drug or other drugs in the same class. This risk appears to be higher during the first year of treatment, is often the result of interactions with certain medicines, and is frequently associated with a genetic predisposition toward simvastatin-related myopathy. The most serious form of myopathy, called rhabdomyolysis, can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure which can be fatal. FDA is requiring changes to the simvastatin label to add new contraindications (should not be used with certain medications) and dose limitations for using simvastatin with certain medicines.

BACKGROUND: The new changes to the drug labels for simvastatin-containing medicines are based on FDA's review of the Study of the Effectiveness of Additional Reductions in Cholesterol and Homocysteine (SEARCH) trial and other data described in the Agency's March 2010 Ongoing safety review of high-dose Zocor (simvastatin) and increased risk of muscle injury. Simvastatin 80 mg should be used only in patients who have been taking this dose for 12 months or more without evidence of muscle injury (myopathy).

RECOMMENDATION: Simvastatin 80 mg should not be started in new patients, including patients already taking lower doses of the drug.  


Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events, side effects, or product quality problems related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

 

[12/15/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA
[06/08/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[06/08/2011 - News Release - FDA]
[06/08/2011 - Consumer Update - FDA

Zocor (simvastatin): Label Change - New Restrictions, Contraindications, and Dose Limitations

Jun 8, 2011

Audience: Family Practice, Cardiology, Pharmacy

Simvastatin sold under the brand-name Zocor, as a single-ingredient generic product, and sold in combination with ezetimibe as Vytorin and in combination with niacin as Simcor

[Posted 06/08/2011]

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals that it is recommending limiting the use of the highest approved dose of the cholesterol-lowering medication simvastatin (80 mg) because of increased risk of muscle damage. Patients taking simvastatin 80 mg daily have an increased risk of myopathy compared to patients taking lower doses of this drug or other drugs in the same class. This risk appears to be higher during the first year of treatment, is often the result of interactions with certain medicines, and is frequently associated with a genetic predisposition toward simvastatin-related myopathy. The most serious form of myopathy, called rhabdomyolysis, can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure which can be fatal. FDA is requiring changes to the simvastatin label to add new contraindications (should not be used with certain medications) and dose limitations for using simvastatin with certain medicines.

BACKGROUND: The new changes to the drug labels for simvastatin-containing medicines are based on FDA's review of the Study of the Effectiveness of Additional Reductions in Cholesterol and Homocysteine (SEARCH) trial and other data described in the Agency's March 2010 Ongoing safety review of high-dose Zocor (simvastatin) and increased risk of muscle injury. Simvastatin 80 mg should be used only in patients who have been taking this dose for 12 months or more without evidence of muscle injury (myopathy).

RECOMMENDATION: Simvastatin 80 mg should not be started in new patients, including patients already taking lower doses of the drug.  


Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events, side effects, or product quality problems related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

 

[06/08/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[06/08/2011 - News Release - FDA]
[06/08/2011 - Consumer Update - FDA

Zocor (simvastatin): increased risk of muscle injury with high doses

Mar 19, 2010

Audience: Primary care providers, patients

Simvastatin is sold as a single-ingredient generic medication and as the brand-name, Zocor. It is also sold in combination with ezetimibe as Vytorin; and niacin as Simcor.

FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that, based on review of data from a large clinical trial and other sources, there is an increased risk of muscle injury in patients taking the highest approved dose of the cholesterol-lowering medication, Zocor (simvastatin) 80 mg, compared to patients taking lower doses of simvastatin and possibly other drugs in the "statin" class. FDA is also reviewing data from other clinical trials, observational studies, adverse event reports, and data on prescription use of simvastatin to better understand the relationship between high-dose simvastatin use and muscle injury.

Recommendations for healthcare professionals, recommendations for patients and a data summary of information used in this ongoing review are provided in the Drug Safety Communication.

[03/19/2010 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[03/2010 - Prescribing Information: Zocor - Merck]

    

Statin drugs and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

Sep 30, 2008

Audience: Neurologists, cardiologists, consumers

[Posted 09/30/2008] An FDA analysis provides new evidence that the use of statins does not increase incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease." The FDA analysis, undertaken after the agency received a higher than expected number of reports of ALS in patients on statins, is based on data from 41 long-term controlled clinical trials. The results showed no increased incidence of the disease in patients treated with a statin compared with placebo.

The FDA is anticipating the completion of a case-control or epidemiological study of ALS and statin use. Results from this study should be available within 6-9 months. FDA is also examining the feasibility of conducting additional epidemiologic studies to examine the incidence and clinical course of ALS in patients taking statins.

Based on currently available information, health care professionals should not change their prescribing practices for statins and patients should not change their use of statins.

[September 29, 2008 - News Release - FDA]

Ezetimibe/Simvastatin (Vytorin); Simvastatin (Zocor); and Ezetimibe (Zetia)

Aug 21, 2008

Audience: Endocrinologists, cardiologists, other healthcare professionals, patients

[Posted 08/21/2008] FDA informed healthcare professionals that the Agency is investigating a report from the Simvastatin and Ezetimibe in Aortic Stenosis (SEAS) trial of a possible association between the use of Vytorin and a potentially increased incidence of cancer. Vytorin is a combination product of simvastatin and ezetimibe used to decrease the production of cholesterol by the liver and inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine to reduce LDL-cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. Recently, FDA obtained preliminary results from the SEAS trial. The clinical trial tested whether lowering LDL-cholesterol with Vytorin would reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in individuals with aortic stenosis. A lower overall cardiovascular risk was not found with Vytorin. However, there was an additional observation that a larger percentage of subjects treated with Vytorin were diagnosed with and died from all types of cancer combined when compared to placebo during the 5-year study.

FDA anticipates receiving a final SEAS study report in about 3 months and the Agency's review and evaluation of the clinical trial data and other relevant information should take approximately 6 months. FDA will communicate its conclusions and recommendations at that time. Healthcare professionals and caregivers should continue to monitor patients taking Vytorin and report side effects from the use of this drug to the Agency.

[August 21, 2008 - Early Communication about an Ongoing Safety Review - FDA]

Simvastatin Used With Amiodarone

Aug 8, 2008

Audience: Cardiologic healthcare professionals, pharmacists, other healthcare professionals

[Posted 08/08/2008] FDA notified healthcare professionals of the risk of muscle injury, rhabdomyolysis, which can lead to kidney failure or death, when simvastatin is used with amiodarone. This risk is dose-related and increases when a dose of simvastatin greater than 20 mg per day is given with amiodarone. Although a revision of the simvastatin labeling in 2002 described an increased risk of rhabdomyolysis when amiodarone is taken with simvastatin doses greater than 20 mg daily, FDA continues to receive reports of rhabdomyolysis in patients treated concurrently with amiodarone and simvastatin. Prescribers should be aware of the increased risk of rhabdomyolysis when simvastatin is prescribed with amiodarone, and they should avoid doses of simvastatin greater than 20 mg per day in patients taking amiodarone.

[August 08, 2008 - Drug Information Page - FDA]
[August 08, 2008 - Information for Healthcare Professionals - FDA]

Ezetimibe/Simvastatin (marketed as Vytorin), Ezetimibe (marketed as Zetia), and Simvastatin (marketed as Zocor)

Jan 25, 2008

Audience: Cardiovascular healthcare professionals and patients

[Posted 01/25/2008] FDA provided healthcare professionals with an early communication about an ongoing data review for Ezetimibe/Simvastatin (marketed as Vytorin), Ezetimibe (marketed as Zetia), and Simvastatin (marketed as Zocor). This early communication is in keeping with FDA’s commitment to inform the public about ongoing postmarketing drug issues.

Merck/Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals reported preliminary results from the Effect of Combination Ezetimibe and High-Dose Simvastatin vs. Simvastatin Alone on the Atherosclerotic Process in Patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia (ENHANCE) trial. This trial was designed to evaluate the amount of atherosclerotic plaque in blood vessels located in the neck based on images obtained through ultrasound in patients treated with Vytorin (ezetimibe plus simvastatin) or simvastatin alone.  Merck/Schering Plough stated that there was no significant difference between Vytorin and simvastatin in the amount of atherosclerotic plaque in the inner walls of the carotid (neck) arteries despite greater lowering of LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) with Vytorin compared to simvastatin. Once Merck/Schering Plough completes the analysis of the unblinded data from ENHANCE, it will submit a final study report to FDA. Once FDA receives the final study report, FDA estimates it will take approximately 6 months to fully evaluate the data. After reviewing the data from the ENHANCE study, and considering all other available information about the link between LDL lowering and reduction of cardiovascular events, FDA will determine whether any further regulatory action is warranted with regard to Zetia and Vytorin and also whether any changes to FDA’s current approach to drugs that lower LDL cholesterol are warranted.

Patients should talk to their doctors if they have any questions about the information from the ENHANCE trial.

[January 25, 2008 - Early Communication about an Ongoing Data Review - FDA]

More Zocor Resources