What is this medication and its most common uses?Vytorin is a medicine used to lower your cholesterol (fats in your blood) when a low-fat diet is not enough. Vytorin lowers your total cholesterol, "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides (a type of blood fat), and increases "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?How does this medication work?
Vytorin contains two cholesterol medicines: ezetimibe and simvastatin. Ezetimibe helps to block the absorption of cholesterol from the food you eat, and simvastatin blocks a protein in the liver that makes cholesterol. When less cholesterol is made or absorbed, the liver uses more of it from the blood, resulting in lower levels of cholesterol. By lowering "bad" cholesterol, lowering triglycerides and by increasing the amount of "good" cholesterol in your blood, Vytorin can slow the build-up of fatty deposits in the walls of the arteries in your heart, brain, or other parts of the body.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
What: Along with a low-fat diet, Vytorin is proven to lower LDL cholesterol by 47-57%, depending on the dose prescribed by your healthcare provider. By reducing LDL and triglyceride levels and by increasing HDL, Vytorin may lower your risk of a heart attack, stroke, and the need for procedures to restore the blood flow back to the heart or to another part of the body.
When: Vytorin may start working within a few weeks. Though you may not feel an improvement or change in the way you feel, it is very important to keep taking your medicine as prescribed to keep your condition under control.
How do I know it is working?
Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your cholesterol levels during your treatment with Vytorin. Appropriate diet and exercise also contribute to your overall heart health and will also affect the results of your blood tests.
Taking Vytorin is not a substitute for following a healthy low-fat and low-cholesterol diet and exercising to lower your cholesterol.
What are the possible side effects of this medication?The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
More common side effects may include: headache, muscle pain, upper respiratory infection, diarrhea.
Less common side effects may include:
Muscle problems with symptoms such as unexplained weakness, tenderness, or pain, especially if you also have a fever or feel more tired than usual.
Liver problems with symptoms such as feeling tired or weak, loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
Who should not take this medication?Do not take Vytorin if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
Do not take Vytorin if you have liver disease.
Do not take Vytorin if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Do not take Vytorin in combination with anti-HIV medications (such as ritonavir), boceprevir, clarithromycin, cyclosporine, danazol, erythromycin, gemfibrozil, itraconazole, ketoconazole, nefazodone, posaconazole, telaprevir, telithromycin, or voriconazole.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Vytorin. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have muscle aches or weakness; drink excessive amounts of alcohol; have liver, kidney, or thyroid problems; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What is the usual dosage?The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Adults: The usual starting dose is 10/10 (10 milligrams [mg] of ezetimibe and 10 mg of simvastatin) once a day or 10/20 (10 mg of ezetimibe and 20 mg of simvastatin) once a day. Your healthcare provider may check your blood cholesterol levels during treatment with Vytorin and may change your dose based on the results.
If you have kidney impairment or are taking other medications, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.
How should I take this medication?Take Vytorin exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Vytorin without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Take Vytorin in the evening, with or without food.
If you take other cholesterol-lowering medicines known as bile acid resins (such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take Vytorin either 2 hours or more before or at least 4 hours after you take the bile acid resin.
Your healthcare provider will likely start you on a low-fat diet before prescribing Vytorin. Stay on this diet while you are taking Vytorin.
What should I avoid while taking this medication?Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are taking Vytorin.
Do not drink grapefruit juice while you are taking Vytorin.
What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?If Vytorin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Vytorin may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.
May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?Do not take Vytorin during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?If you miss a dose of Vytorin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.
How should I store this medication?Store at room temperature.
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- The Risks of Not Taking Your Cholesterol MedicationFind out what happens if you miss a dose and when is the best time to take cholesterol-lowering drugs
- How Drugs Can Lower CholesterolDiscover how cholesterol-lowering medications work in your body to bring your cholesterol numbers down to ideal levels.