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Muscle Pain With Simvastatin

It is not uncommon to experience muscle pain with simvastatin. In fact, this side effect was reported in up to 1.2 percent of people taking the medication in clinical studies. Serious muscle problems are more common when simvastatin is first started or when your dosage is increased. If you develop a fever in addition to muscle pain when taking simvastatin, seek prompt medical attention.

Does Simvastatin Cause Muscle Pain?

While most people tolerate simvastatin (Zocor®) well, there are some possible side effects with the drug. One common side effect in people who take simvastatin is muscle pain. In previous clinical studies, this problem occurred in up to 1.2 percent of people taking the medicine.
 

Muscle Pain With Simvastatin: What to Watch For

Most people who have muscle pain while on simvastatin have no other muscle symptoms. However, in rare cases (less than 0.1 percent), people can develop a serious problem with their muscles while taking this drug, with muscle pain being one of its symptoms. Two serious muscle problems that are rarely seen in people taking simvastatin are myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is serious because it can cause muscles to break down, which can cause the kidneys to stop working properly (called acute kidney failure) and result in loss of life.
 
If, while taking simvastatin, you develop muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness (especially if you also have a fever or feel ill), call your healthcare provider immediately. This could be a sign that you have a serious condition that needs treatment right away.
 

Medicines That Increase the Risk of Muscle Pain

While serious muscle problems are more common when simvastatin is first started or when the dosage is increased, problems can develop at any time. There are also certain medicines that, when taken with simvastatin, can increase the risk of serious muscle problems. These medicines include:
 
  • Antifungals, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral®), posaconazole (Noxafil®), and itraconazole (Sporanox®).

 

You should also avoid grapefruit juice and grapefruit products (including grapefruit supplements) while taking simvastatin (see Simvastatin and Grapefruit).

 
Some of these medications should not be combined with simvastatin at all, while others can be taken as long as the dosing with simvastatin is reduced (see Drug Interactions With Simvastatin for more information).
 
Keep in mind that the risks increase with higher simvastatin dosages and appear to be highest in the first year of use. The highest simvastatin dosage (80 mg a day) should be reserved only for people who have already been on that dosage for a year or more without any muscle problems. For everyone else, the maximum dosage is 40 mg a day (or even less, in some situations).
  
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