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Side Effects of Simvastatin (Zocor)


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Description: Simvastatin, commonly marketed under its trade name Zocor, is categorized as a “statin,” which is a class of medications that works by blocking the synthesis of cholesterol. The drug is commonly used to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, often in combination with lifestyle and dietary changes.

Serious Side Effects of Zocor

According to the FDA Drug Safety Communication “New restrictions, contraindications, and dose limitations for Zocor (simvastatin) to reduce the risk of muscle injury,” (Jun 2011), a serious side effect of simvastatin (and all medications in the statin class) which research shows are grounded in individual genetic predisposition, is statin myopathy, where the muscle fibers do not function and rhabdomyolysis (a syndrome due to a direct or indirect muscle injury).


The Mayo Clinic (Apr 2016) reports that other serious side effects include: myocardial infarction (heart attack), difficulty breathing (dyspnea), and Stevens Johnson Syndrome, which is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder of the skin and mucous membranes. Kidney damage also can occur as a result of statin treatment.

Common Side Effects of Zocor

As outlined in the Zocor drug label, as reported by the FDA (Feb 2012), common side effects include:

  • Elevations in liver function tests
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence (excessive gas)
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Protein losing enteropathy (loss of serum proteins into the intestine)
  • Hemolytic anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Anorexia
  • Hepatitis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Tremor
  • Vertigo
  • Memory loss
  • Paresthesia (pins and needles)
  • Peripheral nerve palsy
  • Photosensitivity

Understand Your Risks with the Rxight® Genetic Test

Identifying polymorphisms (individual differences) in genes is critical to clinical decision making on pharmacotherapy. A doctor may alter the dosage of Zocor, which can reduce the probability of developing side effects associated with the drug, based on genetic testing for drug sensitivity.


MD Labs’ Rxight® pharmacogenetic testing is based on the sequencing of genes to establish how patients are likely to react to a drug such as simvastatin and hundreds of other significant over-the-counter and prescription medications across dozens of pharmacological classes. With the Rxight® result, you prescriber will be guided to know which medications require a lower than normal dose, which are effective and safe at a normal dose, and which to avoid altogether due to the potential for serious side effects or inefficacy.


Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry


Read more about Rxight® pharmacogenetics