Simvastatin is a type of prescription medication called a statin. It works by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver and helps it to remove cholesterol from your blood, lowering your levels. Combined with an appropriate diet and lifestyle changes, Simvastatin has been shown to effectively reduce cholesterol, improving your health.

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Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Development

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Last reviewed: 03 Jun 2024

Simvastatin prices

Pack Size Price
10 mg - 3 x 28 tablet(s) £20.00
10 mg - 6 x 28 tablet(s) £25.00
20 mg - 3 x 28 tablet(s) £20.00
20 mg - 6 x 28 tablet(s) £25.00
40 mg - 3 x 28 tablet(s) £20.00
40 mg - 6 x 28 tablet(s) £25.00

How it Works

About Simvastatin

What is Simvastatin?

Simvastatin is a medication used to lower your cholesterol. It is a prescription only medicine belonging to a group of medications called statins, which are for people who have been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol. Simvastatin is the active ingredient.

Is Simvastatin a generic medication?

Simvastatin is a generic medication, and it is available from Superdrug Online Doctor. Generic medications contain the same active ingredients as their branded counterparts, so they work in the same way. Branded medications are usually more expensive than generic versions, so are less likely to be prescribed on the NHS. The branded versions of Simvastatin include treatments like Zocor and Simvador.

How does Simvastatin work?

Simvastatin lowers your blood cholesterol level by preventing your liver from producing as much cholesterol. It also works to help your liver remove more cholesterol from your blood.

Why is lowering cholesterol important?

Reducing high cholesterol levels is important as cholesterol can build up on artery walls and restrict blood flow to your brain, heart, and other organs. High cholesterol levels are linked to a higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. So, lowering your cholesterol levels can significantly reduce your risk of developing these conditions.

How long does Simvastatin take to work?

Your cholesterol levels should begin to drop within 4 weeks of taking Simvastatin, if you are taking it as prescribed. Your doctor may arrange for you to have your cholesterol tested to make sure simvastatin is effective for you. You can also test yourself using a cholesterol test kit from Superdrug Online Doctor. With a home test kit, you don’t need to visit a GP surgery and you’ll get results within 48 hours.

How to take Simvastatin

Simvastatin is normally taken once a day in the evening. This is because your body produces the majority of its cholesterol at night, so Simvastatin is better at reducing cholesterol levels when taken at this time. Simvastatin does not normally cause stomach upsets, so you can take it at mealtimes or at another time. You should swallow tablets whole, with a glass of water.

Always follow your doctor’s instructions when taking Simvastatin.

Can I crush or split Simvastatin tablets?

Simvastatin tablets can be crushed and mixed in with water or food if you have difficulty swallowing tablets whole. They may taste bitter or unpleasant. Do not split Simvastatin tablets unless advised to do so by your doctor.

How long do I need to take Simvastatin for?

Statin treatments are usually lifelong. Stopping using statins may result in a rise in your blood cholesterol levels. Your doctor may want to change your treatment or dose depending on how it affects you.

What if I miss a dose of Simvastatin?

If you forget to take Simvastatin, take it as soon as you remember. If it is the next day, skip the missed dose of Simvastatin and take your next dose at the normal time. Never double dose or take extra doses of Simvastatin. Many people find it useful to set an alarm to remind them to take their dose.

Taking too much Simvastatin

If you take too much Simvastatin, it is unlikely to harm you. However, if you are worried, get side effects, or take more than 1 additional dose, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Simvastatin dosage

Simvastatin is available in doses of 10, 20, and 40 milligrams (mg) from Superdrug Online Doctor. People with very high blood cholesterol might be prescribed an 80mg a day dose. The dose you are prescribed will depend on your cholesterol levels.

Where can I buy Simvastatin

You can buy Simvastatin online through services like Superdrug Online Doctor or at most pharmacies provided you already have a prescription.

To get Simvastatin from Superdrug Online Doctor, you will need to fill in a brief and straightforward questionnaire. One of Superdrug’s doctors will review and approve your order if it is suitable for you.

Can I buy Simvastatin over the counter?

Higher doses of statin medications are currently unavailable over the counter, although the NHS is reviewing this policy. Some low-dose statins can be bought over the counter. However, a pharmacist or doctor will still need to check if simvastatin is suitable for you, as you should not take it if you have not been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol levels. You can buy Simvastatin online from Superdrug Online Doctor.

Can I get Simvastatin on the NHS?

Yes, Simvastatin is available as a prescription medication from the NHS. Unless you are exempt, you will have to pay a prescription charge.

Simvastatin side effects

Like any medication, Simvastatin can cause side effects. However, not everyone gets side effects. Simvastatin does not have any common or uncommon side effects, however, in rare and very rare cases people get side effects. It depends on the individual. Listed below are the known potential side effects of Simvastatin.

Rare side effects of Simvastatin include:

  • rash that might occur on the skin
  • muscle pain, tenderness, weakness, muscle rupture or cramps, which can rarely be serious, including muscle breakdown resulting in kidney damage; and very rare deaths have occurred
  • severe muscle pain usually in the hips and shoulders
  • a rash and weakness of neck muscles and limbs
  • allergic reactions (hypersensitivity) including swelling of the face, tongue and throat which may cause breathing difficulties (angioedema)
  • pain or inflammation of the joints (polymyalgia rheumatica)
  • inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis)
  • sores in the mouth (known as lichenoid drug eruptions)
  • unusual bruising
  • skin eruptions and swelling (dermatomyositis)
  • hives
  • skin sensitivity to sunlight
  • flushing
  • fever
  • lupus-like symptoms (including rash, joint disorders, and effects on blood cells)
  • shortness of breath (dyspnoea) and feeling unwell
  • liver inflammation, causing symptoms such as itching, dark-coloured urine, pale-coloured stool, yellowing of the skin and eyes, feeling tired or weak, loss of appetite.
  • inflammation of the pancreas, typically with severe abdominal pain
  • numbness or weakness of the legs and arms
  • low red blood cell count (anaemia)
  • dizziness, headaches, or tingling sensations
  • blurred and/or impaired vision
  • digestive disturbances including constipation, abdominal pain, indigestion, flatulence, and diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hair loss
  • weakness

If any of these serious side effects happen, stop taking the medicine and tell your doctor immediately or go to A&E.

Very rare potential side effects of Simvastatin include:

  • trouble sleeping
  • confusion
  • poor memory
  • memory loss
  • liver failure
  • a serious allergic reaction which causes difficulty in breathing or dizziness (anaphylaxis)
  • breast enlargement in men (gynecomastia)

Potential side effects for Simvastatin of which the frequency cannot be estimated due to a lack of data include:

  • depression
  • erectile dysfunction
  • myasthenia gravis (a generalised, disease-causing muscle weakness)
  • ocular myasthenia (a disease-causing eye muscle weakness)
  • lung inflammation, resulting in breathing problems including persistent cough and/or being short of breath or getting a fever
  • muscle tendon problems

Speak to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience weakness in your arms or legs that gets worse after being active, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, or double vision or drooping of your eyelids.

Other side effects reported with some statins include:

  • sexual difficulties
  • sleep disturbances, such as nightmares
  • diabetes
  • muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness that is continuous and might not go away after you stop taking medicine (frequency unknown)

How long do Simvastatin side effects last?

The duration, type, and severity of potential side effects of Simvastatin depends on the individual. However, most side effects should go away on their own as your body gets used to the treatment. If you are getting side effects that don’t go away, or you are struggling to deal with them, you should speak to your doctor.

What should I do if I get Simvastatin side effects?

If you get side effects that don’t go away or are difficult to manage, speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse as soon as possible. They can advise whether it is a side effect of Simvastatin you are experiencing, or if it is something else unrelated.

You may also wish to report any side effects you get to the UK government’s Yellow Card Scheme by going to the MHRA website. Reporting can help improve understanding of possible Simvastatin side effects.

Simvastatin warnings

Certain conditions or medications can potentially interact with Simvastatin and make it less effective or unsafe. If you are unsure whether Simvastatin is suitable for you, speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking it.

Simvastatin is suitable for most other people over the age of 10. However, it is not suitable for some people.

Simvastatin and pregnancy and/or breast-feeding

Do not take Simvastatin if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or think that you might be pregnant. If you become pregnant whilst taking Simvastatin, stop taking it straight away and contact your doctor. Simvastatin can cause birth defects or harm an unborn baby.

It is not known whether Simvastatin is passed into breast milk, so you should not take it if you are breast-feeding.

Speak to your doctor before taking Simvastatin if you:

  • ever got an allergic reaction to any medicine
  • have kidney or liver problems
  • have or have ever had a muscle disorder, including fibromyalgia
  • have lung disease
  • drink large amounts of alcohol regularly
  • have an underactive thyroid

Certain other medications can also interfere with simvastatin and cause serious side effects including muscle damage. If you take any of the following medications, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist first before taking Simvastatin:

  • antibiotics, including clarithromycin, fusidic acid, or rifampicin
  • colchicine, used to treat gout
  • HIV medication
  • hepatitis C medication
  • medicines for fungal infections, such as ketoconazole or fluconazole
  • ciclosporin, medication for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • danazol, used for endometriosis
  • amiodarone, a medication for helping your heart rhythm get back to normal in atrial fibrillation
  • high blood pressure and heart medications including diltiazem, verapamil, or amlodipine
  • warfarin, a medication for preventing blood clots

Alcohol and Simvastatin

You can drink alcohol whilst taking Simvastatin. However, alcohol and statins can both impair and damage your liver. This means that drinking alcohol and taking Simvastatin can put a lot of strain on your liver and increase the risk of liver disease or liver damage.

Grapefruit and Simvastatin

Grapefruit can increase the level of Simvastatin in your blood. Do not drink grapefruit juice if you are taking Simvastatin, as this could cause side effects.

Simvastatin alternatives

Simvastatin is commonly prescribed for high blood cholesterol levels. However, if Simvastatin is not suitable for you, Superdrug Online Doctor has other statin medications available.

These include:

Superdrug Online Doctor also has Pravastatin available for people who have already been using this drug for 3 months or more.


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Patient Reviews