Prescription Drug Information: Simvastatin (Page 5 of 9)


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Manson, J.M., Freyssinges, C., Ducrocq, M.B., Stephenson, W.P., Postmarketing Surveillance of Lovastatin and Simvastatin Exposure During Pregnancy, Reproductive Toxicology,, 10(6):439-446, 1996.

8.3 Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether simvastatin is excreted in human milk. Because a small amount of another drug in this class is excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, women taking simvastatin should not nurse their infants. A decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or discontinue drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother [see Contraindications (4)] .

8.4 Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of simvastatin in patients 10 to 17 years of age with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia have been evaluated in a controlled clinical trial in adolescent boys and in girls who were at least 1 year post-menarche. Patients treated with simvastatin had an adverse reaction profile similar to that of patients treated with placebo. Doses greater than 40 mg have not been studied in this population. In this limited controlled study, there was no significant effect on growth or sexual maturation in the adolescent boys or girls, or on menstrual cycle length in girls. [See Dosage and Administration (2.5), Adverse Reactions (6.1), Clinical Studies (14.2).] Adolescent females should be counseled on appropriate contraceptive methods while on simvastatin therapy [see Contraindications (4) and Use in Specific Populations (8.1)]. Simvastatin has not been studied in patients younger than 10 years of age, nor in pre-menarchal girls.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Of the 2,423 patients who received simvastatin tablets in Phase III clinical studies and the 10,269 patients in the Heart Protection Study who received simvastatin tablets, 363 (15%) and 5,366 (52%), respectively were ≥65 years old. In HPS, 615 (6%) were ≥75 years old. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. Since advanced age (≥65 years) is a predisposing factor for myopathy, simvastatin tablets should be prescribed with caution in the elderly. [See Clinical Pharmacology (12.3).]

A pharmacokinetic study with simvastatin showed the mean plasma level of statin activity to be approximately 45% higher in elderly patients between 70 to 78 years of age compared with patients between 18 to 30 years of age. In 4S, 1,021 (23%) of 4,444 patients were 65 or older. Lipid-lowering efficacy was at least as great in elderly patients compared with younger patients, and simvastatin tablets significantly reduced total mortality and CHD mortality in elderly patients with a history of CHD. In HPS, 52% of patients were elderly (4,891 patients 65 to 69 years and 5,806 patients 70 years or older). The relative risk reductions of CHD death, non-fatal MI, coronary and non-coronary revascularization procedures, and stroke were similar in older and younger patients [see Clinical Studies (14.1)]. In HPS, among 32,145 patients entering the active run-in period, there were 2 cases of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis; these patients were aged 67 and 73. Of the 7 cases of myopathy/rhabdomyolysis among 10,269 patients allocated to simvastatin, 4 were aged 65 or more (at baseline), of whom one was over 75. There were no overall differences in safety between older and younger patients in either 4S or HPS.

Because advanced age (≥65 years) is a predisposing factor for myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, simvastatin tablets should be prescribed with caution in the elderly. In a clinical trial of patients treated with simvastatin 80 mg/day, patients ≥65 years of age had an increased risk of myopathy, including rhabdomyolysis, compared to patients <65 years of age. [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)] .

8.6 Renal Impairment

Caution should be exercised when simvastatin tablets are administered to patients with severe renal impairment. [See Dosage and Administration (2.6).]

8.7 Hepatic Impairment

Simvastatin tablets are contraindicated in patients with active liver disease which may include unexplained persistent elevations in hepatic transaminase levels [see Contraindications (4) and Warnings and Precautions (5.3)] .

8.8 Chinese Patients

In a clinical trial in which patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease were treated with simvastatin 40 mg/day (median follow-up 3.9 years), the incidence of myopathy was approximately 0.05% for non-Chinese patients (n=7367) compared with 0.24% for Chinese patients (n=5468). The incidence of myopathy for Chinese patients on simvastatin 40 mg/day or ezetimibe/simvastatin 10/40 mg/day coadministered with extended-release niacin 2 g/day was 1.24%.

Chinese patients may be at higher risk for myopathy, monitor patients appropriately. Coadministration of simvastatin with lipid-modifying doses (≥1 g/day niacin) of niacin-containing products is not recommended in Chinese patients [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1), Drug Interactions (7.4)] .

10. OVERDOSAGE

Significant lethality was observed in mice after a single oral dose of 9 g/m 2. No evidence of lethality was observed in rats or dogs treated with doses of 30 and 100 g/m 2 , 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 simvastatin tablets 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.

11. DESCRIPTION

Simvastatin is a lipid-lowering agent that is derived synthetically from a fermentation product of Aspergillus terreus. After oral ingestion, simvastatin, which is an inactive lactone, is hydrolyzed to the corresponding β-hydroxyacid form. This is an inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase. This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonate, which is an early and rate-limiting step in the biosynthesis of cholesterol.

Simvastatin is butanoic acid, 2,2-dimethyl-,1,2,3,7,8,8a-hexahydro-3,7-dimethyl-8-[2-(tetrahydro-4-hydroxy-6-oxo-2 H -pyran-2-yl)-ethyl]-1-naphthalenyl ester, [1 S -[1α,3α,7β,8β(2 S* ,4 S*),-8aβ]]. The empirical formula of simvastatin is C 25 H 38 O 5 and its molecular weight is 418.57. Its structural formula is:

Simvastatin
(click image for full-size original)

Simvastatin is a white to off-white, nonhygroscopic, crystalline powder that is practically insoluble in water, and freely soluble in chloroform, methanol and ethanol.

Simvastatin tablets USP for oral administration contain either 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg or 80 mg of simvastatin and the following inactive ingredients: microcrystalline cellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose E5, croscarmellose sodium, ferric oxide red, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, maize starch, talc, titanium dioxide, butylated hydroxyanisole , ascorbic acid, citric acid monohydrate, and triethyl citrate.

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