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ezetimibe and simvastatin (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking ezetimibe and simvastatin (Vytorin)?

You should not take ezetimibe and simvastatin if you are allergic to it, if you have liver disease, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

In rare cases, simvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). You may also be more likely to develop this condition if you are of Chinese descent and you take high-dose ezetimibe and simvastatin while also taking medication that contains niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others).

The following drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems if you take them together with simvastatin. These drugs should not be used while you are taking simvastatin:

Before you start taking ezetimibe and simvastatin, tell your doctor if you are already using any of these other medicines:

To make sure you can safely take ezetimibe and simvastatin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • history of liver disease;
  • history of kidney disease;
  • diabetes;
  • a thyroid disorder; or
  • if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.

FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take ezetimibe and simvastatin if you are pregnant.Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are taking ezetimibe and simvastatin.

Ezetimibe and simvastatin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking ezetimibe and simvastatin.

How should I take ezetimibe and simvastatin (Vytorin)?

Take exactly as prescribed. Never take this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully. Taking too much of this medication may cause serious or life-threatening side effects.

Ezetimibe and simvastatin is usually taken once daily in the evening, with or without food. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition and is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your liver function should be tested every 3 to 6 months. Visit your doctor regularly.

You may need to take ezetimibe and simvastatin on a long-term basis for the treatment of high cholesterol. You may need to stop using simvastatin for a short time if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Do not stop taking this medication unless your doctor tells you to.

Ezetimibe and simvastatin is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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