Find out what treatments are available for Raynaud's
Lipids, or fats, are made naturally in your body from the food you eat. They are easily stored in your body and serve as a source of energy. Cholesterol and triglycerides are types of lipid. If the concentration of these lipids in your blood becomes too high, it leads to a condition called hyperlipidaemia. If it is the concentration of cholesterol which has become too high, it is called hypercholesterolaemia. Although a high blood concentration of lipids will not make you feel ill, it can cause a problem if it is left untreated.
People with high lipid levels can develop small fatty patches called atheroma. These patches develop when excess fat is deposited on to the walls of blood vessels. Over time, these patches can make a blood vessel narrower and this is called atherosclerosis (sometimes referred to as 'hardening of the arteries'). The narrowing reduces the blood flow through the artery and increases the risk of a number of heart and blood vessel diseases, such as heart attack, stroke and Raynaud's.
Simvastatin belongs to a group of medicines known as statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). It regulates the amount of cholesterol and other lipids made by your body. It does this by blocking the action of a certain enzyme (called HMG-CoA reductase) which your body needs to make the fats. This lowers your risk of heart and blood vessel disease. It can also reduce this risk, even if your cholesterol levels are normal, if you are at an increased risk of heart disease as a result of other healthcare problems (such as if you have diabetes mellitus).
Simvastatin is available on prescription. The 10 mg strength tablets are also available to buy without a prescription at a pharmacy if you have been advised by a healthcare professional that simvastatin should form part of a programme of treatment to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking simvastatin it is important that your doctor knows:
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the side-effects associated with simvastatin, although these tend to occur only rarely and are usually mild in nature. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. Unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
Simvastatin side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 1,000 people) and what to do.
Muscle cramp, pain or tenderness - Although this may not be anything to be concerned about, you should tell your doctor about this. This is because there is a rare but serious side-effect of simvastatin which is a severe form of muscle inflammation.
Headache - Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Feeling sick, indigestion, wind (flatulence), stomach upset - Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy food
Feeling dizzy or tired, tingling feelings, itchy rash, hair thinning - Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome
Important: simvastatin has been associated with some more serious side-effects in a very few people. Although these occur only rarely, it is important that you tell your doctor straightaway if you experience any of the following symptoms:
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to simvastatin, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.