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Ezetimibe and Simvastatin

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 17, 2020.

Pronunciation

(ez ET i mibe & SIM va stat in)

Index Terms

  • Simvastatin and Ezetimibe
  • Simvastatin/Ezetimibe

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Tablet, Oral:

Vytorin: ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 10 mg, ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 20 mg, ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 40 mg, ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 80 mg

Generic: ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 10 mg, ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 20 mg, ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 40 mg, ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 80 mg

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Vytorin

Pharmacologic Category

  • Antilipemic Agent, 2-Azetidinone
  • Antilipemic Agent, HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitor

Pharmacology

Ezetimibe: Inhibits absorption of cholesterol at the brush border of the small intestine, leading to a decreased delivery of cholesterol to the liver. Ezetimibe inhibits the enzyme Niemann-Pick C1-Like1 (NPC1L1), a sterol transporter.

Simvastatin: A methylated derivative of lovastatin that acts by competitively inhibiting 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, the enzyme that catalyzes the rate-limiting step in cholesterol biosynthesis. In addition to the ability of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors to decrease levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), they also possess pleiotropic properties including improved endothelial function, reduced inflammation at the site of the coronary plaque, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and anticoagulant effects (de Denus 2002; Ray 2005).

Use: Labeled Indications

Homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia: As an adjunct to diet for the reduction of elevated total cholesterol (total-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, as an adjunct to other lipid-lowering treatments (eg, LDL apheresis), or if such treatments are unavailable.

Primary hyperlipidemia: As an adjunct to diet for the reduction of elevated total-C, LDL-C, apolipoprotein B (apo B), triglycerides, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and to increase HDL-C in patients with primary (heterozygous familial and nonfamilial) hyperlipidemia or mixed hyperlipidemia.

Limitations of use: No incremental benefit of ezetimibe/simvastatin on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality over and above that demonstrated for simvastatin has been established. Ezetimibe/simvastatin has not been studied in Fredrickson type I, III, IV, and V dyslipidemias.

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to ezetimibe, simvastatin, or any component of this medication; coadministration with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole, HIV protease inhibitors, boceprevir, telaprevir, erythromycin, clarithromycin, telithromycin, nefazodone, cobicistat-containing products), gemfibrozil, cyclosporine, or danazol; active liver disease or unexplained persistent elevations in hepatic transaminases; pregnancy or use in women who may become pregnant; breastfeeding

Dosing: Adult

Note: Dosing limitation: Simvastatin 80 mg is limited to patients that have been taking this dose for >12 consecutive months without evidence of myopathy and are not currently taking or beginning a simvastatin dose-limiting or contraindicated interacting medication. If patient is unable to achieve low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) goal using the 40 mg dose of simvastatin, increasing to 80 mg dose is not recommended. Instead, switch patient to an alternative LDL-C-lowering treatment providing greater LDL-C reduction. After initiation or titration, monitor lipid response after ≥2 weeks and adjust dose as necessary.

Homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia: Oral: Ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 40 mg once daily in the evening.

Primary hyperlipidemia: Oral: Initial: Ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 10 to 20 mg once daily in the evening. Start patients who require >55% reduction in LDL-C at ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 40 mg once daily in the evening. Dosing range: Ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 10 to 40 mg once daily.

Dosage adjustment for concomitant therapy: Significant drug interactions exist, requiring dose/frequency adjustment or avoidance. Consult drug interactions database for more information.

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Note: Based on adults, a lower, conservative dosing regimen may be necessary in patient populations predisposed to myopathy, including patients of Chinese descent or those concurrently receiving other lipid-lowering agents (eg, niacin, fibric acid derivatives), amiodarone, amlodipine, diltiazem, dronedarone, ranolazine, or verapamil. Dosage should be individualized according to the baseline LDL-C level, the recommended goal of therapy, and patient response; adjustments should be made at intervals of 4 weeks. Lifestyle changes are recommended to be implemented for at least 6 to 12 months before beginning pharmacotherapy (AACE [Jellinger 2017]).

Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia: Limited data available: Children ≥10 years and Adolescents (males and postmenarchal females): Oral: Initial: Ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 10 to 20 mg once daily in the evening. Reported final dosing range: Ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 10 to 40 mg once daily; maximum dose: Ezetimibe 10 mg and simvastatin 40 mg (van der Graaf 2008).

Dosage adjustment for concomitant therapy: Significant drug interactions exist, requiring dose/frequency adjustment or avoidance. Consult drug interactions database for more information.

Dosing adjustment for toxicity: Muscle symptoms (potential myopathy): Children ≥10 years and Adolescents: Discontinue use until symptoms can be evaluated; check CPK level; based on experience in adult patients, also evaluate patient for conditions that may increase the risk for muscle symptoms (eg, hypothyroidism, reduced renal or hepatic function, rheumatologic disorders such as polymyalgia rheumatica, steroid myopathy, vitamin D deficiency, or primary muscle diseases). Upon resolution (symptoms and any associated CPK abnormalities), resume the original or consider a lower dose of simvastatin and retitrate. If muscle symptoms recur, discontinue simvastatin use. After muscle symptom resolution, may then reinitiate a different statin at an initial low dose; gradually increase if tolerated. Based on experience in adult patients, if muscle symptoms or elevated CPK persists for 2 months in the absence of continued statin use, consider other causes of muscle symptoms. If determined to be due to another condition aside from statin use, may resume statin therapy at the original dose (NHLBI 2011; Stone 2013).

Administration

Oral: May be administered without regard to meals. Administer in the evening for maximal efficacy. Ezetimibe/simvastatin should be taken ≥2 hours before or ≥4 hours after administration of a bile acid sequestrant.

Dietary Considerations

Before initiation of therapy, patients should be placed on a standard cholesterol-lowering diet for 3 to 6 months and the diet should be continued during drug therapy. Simvastatin serum concentration may be increased when taken with grapefruit juice; avoid concurrent intake of grapefruit juice.

Red yeast rice contains variable amounts of several compounds that are structurally similar to HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, primarily monacolin K (or mevinolin) which is structurally identical to lovastatin; concurrent use of red yeast rice with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors may increase the incidence of adverse and toxic effects (Lapi 2008; Smith 2003).

Storage

Store at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).

Drug Interactions

Abametapir: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Avoid combination

Acipimox: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Amiodarone: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Consider using a non-interacting statin (pravastatin) in patients on amiodarone. If combined, limit the adult simvastatin dose to 20 mg daily and monitor for evidence of simvastatin toxicities (eg, myalgia, liver function test elevations, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

AmLODIPine: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Dose of simvastatin should not exceed 20 mg daily if coadministering with levamlodipine or amlodipine. If coadministering with simvastatin and amlodipine, close laboratory and clincal monitoring for signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis is warranted. Consider therapy modification

Aprepitant: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Asunaprevir: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Azithromycin (Systemic): May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Bempedoic Acid: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Avoid coadministration of bempedoic acid with simvastatin doses greater than 20 mg due to the potential for increased simvastatin concentrations and simvastatin-related myopathy. Consider therapy modification

Bile Acid Sequestrants: May decrease the absorption of Ezetimibe. Management: Administer ezetimibe at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after any bile acid sequestrant. Consider therapy modification

Bosentan: May decrease the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Cilostazol: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Clarithromycin: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

Clofazimine: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Colchicine: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Colchicine may increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Conivaptan: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Avoid combination

CycloSPORINE (Systemic): May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

CYP3A4 Inducers (Moderate): May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

CYP3A4 Inducers (Strong): May increase the metabolism of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Consider an alternative for one of the interacting drugs. Some combinations may be specifically contraindicated. Consult appropriate manufacturer labeling. Consider therapy modification

CYP3A4 Inhibitors (Moderate): May decrease the metabolism of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

CYP3A4 Inhibitors (Strong): May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

Cyproterone: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Avoid use of statins metabolized by CYP3A4 (eg, simvastatin) and consider avoiding fluvastatin as well in patients receiving high dose cyproterone (300 mg/day). Consider use of pravastatin, rosuvastatin, or pitavastatin if statin therapy is needed. Consider therapy modification

Dabigatran Etexilate: Simvastatin may enhance the anticoagulant effect of Dabigatran Etexilate. Monitor therapy

Dabrafenib: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Seek alternatives to the CYP3A4 substrate when possible. If concomitant therapy cannot be avoided, monitor clinical effects of the substrate closely (particularly therapeutic effects). Consider therapy modification

Daclatasvir: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Danazol: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

DAPTOmycin: Simvastatin may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of DAPTOmycin. Avoid combination

Deferasirox: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

DilTIAZem: Simvastatin may increase the serum concentration of DilTIAZem. DilTIAZem may increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Avoid concurrent use of diltiazem with simvastatin when possible. If used together, limit adult doses to simvastatin 10 mg daily and diltiazem 240 mg per day; monitor closely for signs of simvastatin toxicity (eg, myositis, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

Dronedarone: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Avoid the concurrent use of dronedarone with simvastatin when possible. If used together, limit adult simvastatin dose to 10 mg daily, and monitor closely for signs of simvastatin toxicity (eg, myositis, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

Duvelisib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Efavirenz: May decrease the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Elbasvir: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Eltrombopag: May increase the serum concentration of OATP1B1/1B3 (SLCO1B1/1B3) Substrates. Monitor therapy

Enzalutamide: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Concurrent use of enzalutamide with CYP3A4 substrates that have a narrow therapeutic index should be avoided. Use of enzalutamide and any other CYP3A4 substrate should be performed with caution and close monitoring. Consider therapy modification

Erdafitinib: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Erdafitinib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Erythromycin (Systemic): May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

Eslicarbazepine: May decrease the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Etravirine: May decrease the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). This applies to atorvastatin, lovastatin and simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Fenofibrate and Derivatives: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Ezetimibe. Specifically, the risk of myopathy and cholelithiasis may be increased. Fenofibrate and Derivatives may increase the serum concentration of Ezetimibe. Monitor therapy

Fibric Acid Derivatives: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Ezetimibe. Specifically, the risk of myopathy and cholelithiasis may be increased. Fibric Acid Derivatives may increase the serum concentration of Ezetimibe. Exceptions: Fenofibrate and Derivatives. Avoid combination

Fluconazole: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Fosaprepitant: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Fosnetupitant: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Fosphenytoin-Phenytoin: May decrease the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Consider avoiding coadministration of fosphenytoin/phenytoin and statins. If combined, monitor for decreased therapeutic effects of statins if fosphenytoin/phenytoin is initiated/dose increased. Consider therapy modification

Fostamatinib: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Fostemsavir: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Use the lowest possible starting statin dose and monitor patients closely for statin-related adverse effects (eg, muscle aches and pains) during coadministration with fostemsavir. Consider therapy modification

Fusidic Acid (Systemic): May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Specifically, the risk for muscle toxicities, including rhabdomyolysis may be significantly increased. Management: Avoid concurrent use whenever possible. Use is listed as contraindicated in product characteristic summaries in several countries, although UK labeling suggests that use could be considered under exceptional circumstances and with close supervision. Avoid combination

Fusidic Acid (Systemic): May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Avoid combination

Gemfibrozil: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Simvastatin. Gemfibrozil may increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Concentrations of the active simvastatin acid metabolite may also be increased by gemfibrozil. Avoid combination

Glecaprevir and Pibrentasvir: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

Grapefruit Juice: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

Grazoprevir: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Green Tea: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Specifically, Simvastatin lactone concentrations may be increased. Monitor therapy

Idelalisib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Avoid combination

Imatinib: May decrease the metabolism of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

Ivosidenib: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Lanthanum: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may decrease the serum concentration of Lanthanum. Management: Administer HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors at least two hours before or after lanthanum. Consider therapy modification

Larotrectinib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Lercanidipine: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Administer lercanidipine in the morning and simvastatin in the evening in patients receiving these drugs in combination. Consider therapy modification

Letermovir: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

Levamlodipine: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Dose of simvastatin should not exceed 20 mg daily if coadministering with levamlodipine or amlodipine. If coadministering with simvastatin and levamlodipine, close laboratory and clincal monitoring for signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis is warranted. Consider therapy modification

Lomitapide: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Reduce the recommended simvastatin dose by 50%. Generally, limit the maximum adult simvastatin dose to 20 mg/day. A 40 mg/day dose can be considered in patients who previously received 80 mg/day for at least a year without evidence of muscle toxicity. Consider therapy modification

MiFEPRIStone: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Avoid simvastatin during and 2 weeks following mifepristone for treatment of hyperglycemia in Cushing's syndrome. The interaction magnitude could be lower with single doses used to terminate pregnancy, but neither effect has been studied clinically. Avoid combination

Mitotane: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Management: Doses of CYP3A4 substrates may need to be adjusted substantially when used in patients being treated with mitotane. Consider therapy modification

Netupitant: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

Niacin: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Simvastatin. Niacin may increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Use of simvastatin with niacin should be avoided in Chinese patients; some non-US labeling state this combination is not recommended in any Asian patients. Consider therapy modification

Niacinamide: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Palbociclib: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Monitor therapy

PAZOPanib: Simvastatin may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of PAZOPanib. Specifically, the risk for ALT/AST elevations may be increased. Monitor therapy

Protease Inhibitors: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

QuiNINE: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Raltegravir: May enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Monitor therapy

Ranolazine: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Avoid the concurrent use of ranolazine with simvastatin when possible. If used together, limit simvastatin dose to 20 mg daily and monitor for evidence of simvastatin toxicities (eg, myalgia, liver function test elevations, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

Red Yeast Rice: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Avoid combination

Repaglinide: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may increase the serum concentration of Repaglinide. Monitor therapy

Rifamycin Derivatives: May decrease the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Consider use of noninteracting antilipemic agents (note: pitavastatin concentrations may increase with rifamycin treatment). Monitor for altered HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor effects. Rifabutin and fluvastatin, or possibly pravastatin, may pose lower risk. Consider therapy modification

Rupatadine: May enhance the adverse/toxic effect of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Specifically, the risk for increased CPK and/or other muscle toxicities may be increased. Monitor therapy

Sarilumab: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Siltuximab: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Simeprevir: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Monitor therapy

St John's Wort: May increase the metabolism of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Consider avoiding the concomitant administration of St Johns Wort with interacting HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors in order to avoid the potential for decreased antilipemic effects. Monitor for decreased effects during concomitant therapy. Consider therapy modification

Stiripentol: May increase the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inhibitors). Management: Use of stiripentol with CYP3A4 substrates that are considered to have a narrow therapeutic index should be avoided due to the increased risk for adverse effects and toxicity. Any CYP3A4 substrate used with stiripentol requires closer monitoring. Consider therapy modification

Telithromycin: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Avoid combination

Teriflunomide: May increase the serum concentration of OATP1B1/1B3 (SLCO1B1/1B3) Substrates. Monitor therapy

Ticagrelor: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Avoid using doses of simvastatin greater than 40 mg/day with ticagrelor. This specific recommendation is found in the U.S. prescribing information but not in the Canadian product monograph. Consider therapy modification

Tocilizumab: May decrease the serum concentration of CYP3A4 Substrates (High risk with Inducers). Monitor therapy

Tolvaptan: May increase the serum concentration of OATP1B1/1B3 (SLCO1B1/1B3) Substrates. Management: Avoid concomitant use of OATP1B1/1B3 substrates in patients receiving the Jynarque brand of tolvaptant. Concentrations and effects of the OATP1B1/1B3 substrate would be expected to increase with combined use. Consider therapy modification

Trabectedin: HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may enhance the myopathic (rhabdomyolysis) effect of Trabectedin. Monitor therapy

Verapamil: May increase the serum concentration of Simvastatin. Management: Avoid concurrent use of verapamil with simvastatin when possible. If used together, limit adult simvastatin dose to 10 mg daily and monitor closely for signs of simvastatin toxicity (eg, myositis, rhabdomyolysis). Consider therapy modification

Vitamin K Antagonists (eg, warfarin): HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins) may enhance the anticoagulant effect of Vitamin K Antagonists. Monitor therapy

Voxilaprevir: May increase the serum concentration of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins). Management: Use the lowest statin dose possible if combined with voxilaprevir and monitor patients for increased statin effects/toxicities. Avoid concomitant use of voxilaprevir with rosuvastatin or pitavastatin, and limit pravastatin doses to 40 mg daily. Consider therapy modification

Adverse Reactions

Incidences refer to combination, Vytorin. Also see individual agents.

1% to 10%:

Central nervous system: Headache (6%)

Gastrointestinal: Diarrhea (3%)

Hepatic: Increased serum ALT (4%)

Infection: Influenza (2%)

Neuromuscular & skeletal: Myalgia (4%), limb pain (2%), myopathy

Respiratory: Upper respiratory infection (4%)

Warnings/Precautions

Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Diabetes mellitus: Increases in HbA1c and fasting blood glucose have been reported with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors; however, the benefits of statin therapy far outweigh the risk of dysglycemia.

• Hepatotoxicity: Postmarketing reports of fatal and nonfatal hepatic failure are rare. If serious hepatotoxicity with clinical symptoms and/or hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice occurs during treatment, interrupt therapy. If an alternate etiology is not identified, do not restart simvastatin. Liver enzyme tests should be obtained at baseline and as clinically indicated; routine periodic monitoring of liver enzymes is not necessary. Ethanol may enhance the potential of adverse hepatic effects; instruct patients to avoid excessive ethanol consumption.

• Myopathy/Rhabdomyolysis: Rhabdomyolysis with acute renal failure secondary to myoglobinuria and/or myopathy have been reported; patients should be monitored closely. This risk is dose-related and is increased with concurrent use of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (eg, clarithromycin, itraconazole, protease inhibitors), cyclosporine, fibric acid derivatives (eg, gemfibrozil), or niacin (doses ≥1 g/day); if concurrent use is warranted, consider lower starting and maintenance doses of simvastatin. Use caution in patients with inadequately treated hypothyroidism, ≥65 years of age, women, and those taking other drugs associated with myopathy (eg, colchicine); these patients are predisposed to myopathy. Immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy (IMNM) associated with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor use has also been reported. Myopathy and rhabdomyolysis also have been reported with ezetimibe monotherapy. Patients should be instructed to report unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, weakness, or brown urine, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever. Discontinue therapy if markedly elevated CPK levels occur or myopathy is diagnosed/suspected; consider treatment with immunosuppressants and additional neuromuscular and serologic testing. Prior to initiating a different HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor consider risk of IMNM; monitor closely.

Disease-related concerns:

• Ethanol: Use caution in patients who consume large amounts of alcohol and/or who have a past history of liver disease.

• Hepatic impairment: Use is contraindicated with active liver disease and with unexplained transaminase elevations.

• Renal impairment: Avoid use in patients with severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance not defined) unless patient has already tolerated simvastatin at a dose ≥5 mg; use doses of simvastatin >20 mg/day with caution and monitor closely for adverse events (eg, myopathy) in patients with moderate-to-severe renal impairment (ie, CrCl <60 mL/minute/1.73 m2). Initial dosage adjustment is not necessary in mild-to-moderate impairment. Renal impairment may also increase risk for myopathy.

Concurrent drug therapy issues:

• High potential for interactions: Use is contraindicated in patients taking strong CYP3A4 inhibitors, cyclosporine, danazol, and gemfibrozil (see Drug Interactions); if concurrent use of a contraindicated interacting medication is unavoidable, treatment with simvastatin should be suspended during use or consider the use of an alternative HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor void of CYP3A4 metabolism. Use caution and/or limit dose with amiodarone, amlodipine, diltiazem, ranolazine, verapamil, other fibrates, and lipid-lowering doses of niacin (≥1g/day).

Special populations:

• Children: Coadministration of ezetimibe with simvastatin at dosages of more than 40 mg/day has not been studied in adolescents. Also, ezetimibe/simvastatin has not been studied in patients <10 years of age or in premenarchal girls.

• Chinese patients: Increased risk of myopathy; use with caution. Coadministration of ezetimibe/simvastatin with niacin ≥1 g/day is not recommended in Chinese patients; it is not known if this also applies to other Asian patients.

• Elderly: Use with caution in patients ≥65 years of age; these patients are predisposed to myopathy.

• Surgical patients: The manufacturer recommends temporary discontinuation for elective major surgery, acute medical or surgical conditions, or in any patient experiencing an acute or serious condition predisposing to renal failure (eg, sepsis, hypotension, trauma, uncontrolled seizures). Based on current research and clinical guidelines (Fleisher, 2009), HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors should be continued in the perioperative period. Postoperative discontinuation of statin therapy is associated with an increased risk of cardiac morbidity and mortality.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Hyperlipidemia: Secondary causes of hyperlipidemia should be ruled out prior to therapy.

Monitoring Parameters

Manufacturer's labeling:

Consider neuromuscular and serologic testing if immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy is suspected.

American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association blood cholesterol guideline recommendations (ACC/AHA [Grundy 2019]; ACC/AHA [Stone 2013]):

Lipid panel (total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides): Baseline lipid panel; fasting lipid profile within 4 to 12 weeks after initiation or dose adjustment and every 3 to 12 months (as clinically indicated) thereafter. If 2 consecutive low-density lipoprotein levels are <40 mg/dL, consider decreasing the dose.

Hepatic transaminase levels: Baseline measurement of hepatic transaminase levels (AST and ALT); measure AST, ALT, total bilirubin, and alkaline phosphatase if symptoms suggest hepatotoxicity (eg, unusual fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark-colored urine, yellowing of skin or sclera) during therapy.

CPK: CPK should not be routinely measured. Baseline CPK measurement is reasonable for some individuals (eg, family history of statin intolerance or muscle disease, clinical presentation, concomitant drug therapy that may increase risk of myopathy). May measure CPK in any patient with symptoms suggestive of myopathy (pain, tenderness, stiffness, cramping, weakness, or generalized fatigue).

Evaluate for new-onset diabetes mellitus during therapy; if diabetes develops, continue statin therapy and encourage adherence to a heart-healthy diet, physical activity, a healthy body weight, and tobacco cessation.

If patient develops a confusional state or memory impairment, may evaluate patient for nonstatin causes (eg, exposure to other drugs), systemic and neuropsychiatric causes, and the possibility of adverse effects associated with statin therapy.

Reproductive Considerations

Use is contraindicated in women who may become pregnant.

Pregnancy Risk Factor

X

Pregnancy Considerations

Use is contraindicated in pregnant women. See individual monographs for additional information.

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol (HDL).

• It is used to lower triglycerides.

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

• Headache

• Common cold symptoms

• Diarrhea

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

• Liver problems like dark urine, fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, light-colored stools, vomiting, or yellow skin

• Unable to pass urine

• Change in amount of urine passed

• Muscle pain

• Muscle tenderness

• Muscle weakness

• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine's uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.