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Zocor (Simvastatin) - Drug Interactions, Contraindications, Overdosage, etc

 
 



DRUG INTERACTIONS

CYP3A4 Interactions

Simvastatin, like several other inhibitors of HMG-CoA reductase, is a substrate of CYP3A4. Simvastatin is metabolized by CYP3A4 but has no CYP3A4 inhibitory activity; therefore it is not expected to affect the plasma concentrations of other drugs metabolized by CYP3A4.

The risk of myopathy is increased by reducing the elimination of simvastatin. Hence when simvastatin is used with an inhibitor of CYP3A4 (e.g., as listed below), elevated plasma levels of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitory activity can increase the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis, particularly with higher doses of simvastatin. [See Warnings and Precautions and Clinical Pharmacology.]

Itraconazole, ketoconazole, and other antifungal azoles

Macrolide antibiotics erythromycin, clarithromycin, and the ketolide antibiotic telithromycin

HIV protease inhibitors

Antidepressant nefazodone

Grapefruit juice in large quantities (>1 quart daily)

Concomitant use of these drugs and any medication labeled as having a strong inhibitory effect on CYP3A4 should be avoided unless the benefits of combined therapy outweigh the increased risk. If treatment with itraconazole, ketoconazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin or telithromycin is unavoidable, therapy with ZOCOR should be suspended during the course of treatment.

Lipid-Lowering Drugs That Can Cause Myopathy When Given Alone

The risk of myopathy is increased by gemfibrozil [see Dosage and Administration] and to a lesser extent by other fibrates and niacin (nicotinic acid) (≥1 g/day). [see Warnings and Precautions].

Cyclosporine or Danazol

The risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis is increased by concomitant administration of cyclosporine or danazol particularly with higher doses of simvastatin [see Warnings and Precautions and Clinical Pharmacology].

Amiodarone or Verapamil

The risk of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis is increased by concomitant administration of amiodarone or verapamil with higher doses of simvastatin [see Warnings and Precautions].

Digoxin

In one study, concomitant administration of digoxin with simvastatin resulted in a slight elevation in digoxin concentrations in plasma. Patients taking digoxin should be monitored appropriately when simvastatin is initiated [see Clinical Pharmacology].

Coumarin Anticoagulants

In two clinical studies, one in normal volunteers and the other in hypercholesterolemic patients, simvastatin 20-40 mg/day modestly potentiated the effect of coumarin anticoagulants: the prothrombin time, reported as International Normalized Ratio (INR), increased from a baseline of 1.7 to 1.8 and from 2.6 to 3.4 in the volunteer and patient studies, respectively. With other statins, clinically evident bleeding and/or increased prothrombin time has been reported in a few patients taking coumarin anticoagulants concomitantly. In such patients, prothrombin time should be determined before starting simvastatin and frequently enough during early therapy to ensure that no significant alteration of prothrombin time occurs. Once a stable prothrombin time has been documented, prothrombin times can be monitored at the intervals usually recommended for patients on coumarin anticoagulants. If the dose of simvastatin is changed or discontinued, the same procedure should be repeated. Simvastatin therapy has not been associated with bleeding or with changes in prothrombin time in patients not taking anticoagulants.

OVERDOSAGE

Significant lethality was observed in mice after a single oral dose of 9 g/m2. No evidence of lethality was observed in rats or dogs treated with doses of 30 and 100 g/m2, respectively. No specific diagnostic signs were observed in rodents. At these doses the only signs seen in dogs were emesis and mucoid stools.

A few cases of overdosage with ZOCOR have been reported; the maximum dose taken was 3.6 g. All patients recovered without sequelae. Supportive measures should be taken in the event of an overdose. The dialyzability of simvastatin and its metabolites in man is not known at present.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

ZOCOR is contraindicated in the following conditions:

  • Hypersensitivity to any component of this medication [see Adverse Reactions].
  • Active liver disease, which may include unexplained persistent elevations in hepatic transaminase levels [see Warnings and Precautions].
  • Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. Serum cholesterol and triglycerides increase during normal pregnancy, and cholesterol or cholesterol derivatives are essential for fetal development. Because HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) decrease cholesterol synthesis and possibly the synthesis of other biologically active substances derived from cholesterol, ZOCOR may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Atherosclerosis is a chronic process and the discontinuation of lipid-lowering drugs during pregnancy should have little impact on the outcome of long-term therapy of primary hypercholesterolemia. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of use with ZOCOR during pregnancy; however, in rare reports congenital anomalies were observed following intrauterine exposure to statins. In rat and rabbit animal reproduction studies, simvastatin revealed no evidence of teratogenicity. ZOCOR should be administered to women of childbearing age only when such patients are highly unlikely to conceive. If the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, ZOCOR should be discontinued immediately and the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus [see Use in Specific Populations].
  • Nursing mothers. It is not known whether simvastatin is excreted into human milk; however, a small amount of another drug in this class does pass into breast milk. Because statins have the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, women who require treatment with ZOCOR should not breastfeed their infants [see Use in Specific Populations].

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