Drug Name: Zocor
Zocor (Simvastatin) is a Statin drug, used to lower high cholesterol levels, and also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor. Zocor may affect the absorption or utilization of vitamins E, and coenzyme Q10. Tests showed the average concentration of coenzyme Q10 in blood plasma decreased by approximately 50% after statins were used for 30 days. Supplementation with high quality Coenzyme Q10 is considered beneficial.
- Ubbink JB: The role of vitamins in the pathogenesis and treatment of hyperhomocyst(e)inaemia. J Inherit Metab Dis, 1997 Jun, 20:2, 316-25.
- Mortensen SA, Leth A, Agner E, Rohde M. Dose-related decrease of serum coenzyme Q10 during treatment with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Mol Aspects Med 1997;18(suppl):S137-44.
- De Pinieux G, Chariot P, Ammi-Said M, et al: Lipid lowering drugs and mitochondrial function -- effects of HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors on serum upiquinone and blood lactate/pyruvate ratio, Br J Pharmacol, 1996, 42(3):333-7.
- Bargossi Am, Grossi G, Fiorella PL, et al: Exogenous CoQ10 supplementation prevents plasma ubiquinone reduction induced by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, Mol Aspects Med, 1994, 15 (suppl): 187-93.
- Neunteufl T, Kostner K, Katzenschlager R, et al. Additional benefit of vitamin E supplementation to simvastatin therapy on vasoreactivity of the brachial artery of hypercholesterolemic men. J Am Coll Cardiol 1998;32:711-16.
- Rundek T, Naini A, Sacco R, et al. Atorvastatin decreases the coenzyme Q10 level in the blood of patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Arch Neurol 2004;61:889-92.
Use of alcohol should be limited with this medication.
- Pronsky, ZM, et al: Food-Medication Interactions, 11th edition, 1999
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may increase the effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and should not be consumed at the same time. It is suggested that these medications be taken with water. Grapefruit contains substances that may inhibit the body’s ability to break down statin drugs increasing the toxicity of the drug. Muscle pain, tenderness, or muscle weakness may be a result. If you begin to notice these symptoms, contact your doctor.
- Kantola T, Kivisto KT, Neuvonen PJ. Grapefruit juice greatly increases serum concentrations of lovastatin and lovastatin acid. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1998;63:396-402.
- Pronsky, Z Food Medication Interactions, 11th edition, 1999
- Lilja JJ, Kivisto KT, Neuvonen PJ. Grapefruit juice increases serum concentrations of atorvastatin and has no effect on pravastatin. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1999; 66:118-27.
Niacin is the form of vitamin B3 used to lower cholesterol. Large amounts of niacin taken with a statin drug may cause serious muscle disorders (myopathy). Reasonable levels of niacin combined with statin drugs have been shown to enhance the cholesterol lowering effect. For proper dosage, consult your physician before taking niacin.
- Pronsky, Z Food Medication Interactions, 11th edition, 1999
- Garnett WR. Interactions with hydroxymethylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors. Am J Health Syst Pharm 1995;52:1639-45.
- Yee HS, Fong NT. Atorvastatin in the treatment of primary hypercholesterolemia and mixed dyslipidemias. Ann Pharmacother 1998;32:1030-43
- Davignon J, Roederer G, Montigny M, et al. Comparative efficacy and safety of pravastatin, Nicotinic acid and the two combined in patients with hypercholesterolemia. Am J Cardiol 1994;73:339-45.
- Jacobson TA, Jokubaitis LA, Amorosa LF. Fluvistatin and niacin in hypercholesterolemia: a preliminary report on gender differences in efficacy. Am J Med 1994;96(suppl 6A):64S-8S.
Pomegranate juice has been shown to inhibit the same enzyme inhibited by grapefruit juice. This may cause reactions similar to grapefruit juice when it is used with statin drug treatments.
- Sorokin AV, Duncan B, Panetta R, Thompson PD. Rhabdomyolysis associated with pomegranate juice consumption. Am J Cardiol 2006;98:705-6.
- Summers KM. Potential drug-food interactions with pomegranate juice. Ann Pharmacother 2006;40:1472-3
A supplement containing red yeast rice can effectively lower cholesterol and triglycerides in people with moderately elevated levels of these blood lipids. This extract contains small amounts of naturally occurring HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Consult your doctor if you are currently taking Red Yeast Rice and a statin medication.
- Heber D, Yip I, Ashley JM, et al. Cholesterol-lowering effects of a proprietary Chinese red-yeast-rice dietary supplement. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:231-6
A study of 37 people with high cholesterol treated with diet and statin drugs found vitamin A increased in the blood over two years of therapy. People taking statin drugs and vitamin A supplements should have blood levels of vitamin A monitored.
- Muggeo M, Zenti MG, Travia D, et al. Serum retinol levels throughout 2 years of cholesterol-lowering therapy. Metabolism 1995;44:398-403.
Magnesium- and aluminum-containing antacids were reported to interfere with statin drug absorption. To avoid this interaction, take statin drugs two hours before or after any aluminum/magnesium-containing antacids. Some magnesium supplements such as magnesium hydroxide are also antacids.
- Threlkeld DS, ed. Diuretics and Cardiovasculars, Antihyperlipidemic Agents, HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors. In Facts and Comparisons Drug Information. St. Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons, Sep 1998, 172a.
It should be noted that doctors often recommend supplementing with 100mg of coenzyme Q10 per day for maintaining healthy levels. However, those on statin drugs may have a greater need for a higher dose. It further should be noted that the symptoms associated with the combination of grapefruit juice and statin drugs (muscle weakness and discomfort) are commonly reported as symptoms associated with CoQ10 depletions. Supplementation with coenzyme Q10 is strongly recommended.
The herbs Artichoke plant, Garlic and Plantain may decrease blood cholesterol levels, and therefore enhance the effects of Zocor. Consult with your pharmacist or physician before taking them.
- Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.
- PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition, Medical Economics Company, 2000
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