Zocor is generically known as simvastatin and is used to lower cholesterol in patients who are at risk of a stroke, heart attack, diabetes or coronary heart disease. It is classified as a statin and works by inhibiting cholesterol production. Zocor is manufactured by Merck & Co. and was approved by the FDA in 1991. The FDA estimated that 2.1 million patients were prescribed Zocor in 2010.
One trial looked at 41,050 patients who were treated with Zocor and approximately 24,747 who had used the drug for four years or more. In this trial, researchers saw incidences of myopathy (a muscular disorder) and cardiovascular events in patients at an increase rate compared to patients who did not take the drug. These studies also found that patients who took a higher dose of Zocor had a higher risk of these occurrences.
A small amount of patients in the study developed rhabdomyolysis or kidney damage. This was seen only in the group of people taking the highest dose of Zocor. Although higher doses of Zocor have been linked to these sever muscle conditions, the FDA maintains that if a patient has taken the higher doses of Zocor for more than a year without developing the side effects, they can stay on the medication.
Serious side effects may include:
- Unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
- Confusion, memory problems
- Fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all
- Increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss
- Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skinor eyes)
Less serious Zocor side effects may include:
- Joint pain, mild muscle pain
- Constipation, stomach pain or indigestion, mild nausea
- Mild skin rash
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat