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What are atorvastatin and simvastatin used to treat?

The statin drugs atorvastatin and simvastatin are two of the most regularly used cholesterol-lowering medications. If you have high levels of LDL cholesterol, generally known as “bad” cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe one of these drugs. Statin medications like atorvastatin or simvastatin can help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by lowering cholesterol levels. Continue reading to learn more about what the difference is between Atorvastatin and Simvastatin. [1]

What is high cholesterol?

You may be diagnosed with high cholesterol if you have an unhealthy amount of fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. You may end up with high cholesterol if you:

• Eat large amounts of greasy food regularly

• Don’t exercise

• Are overweight

• Are a smoker

• Consume alcohol regularly.

• Have a history of high cholesterol in your family

Cholesterol can clog your blood vessels if not treated right away. It also increases your risk of heart disease or stroke, and the most dangerous part about it is that there are no symptoms of high cholesterol, and it can only be detected through a blood test. This is why it is important to have yearly wellness checkups. [2]

Key difference between atorvastatin and simvastatin?

difference between atorvastatin and simvastatin | e-Surgery

Simvastatin and atorvastatin are used for the same purpose, which is to treat high cholesterol, high triglyceride, and high lipid. Simultaneously, statins can also boost the growth of HDL cholesterol, a form of “good” cholesterol that protects against heart disease. Both atorvastatin and simvastatin are effective statin medicines for decreasing cholesterol levels in the blood.

However, one distinction between both drugs is that atorvastatin is considered a more powerful statin. Compared to simvastatin, atorvastatin stays in the body for more time and can be taken at any time, day or night. Additionally, both medications have the same side effects; however, some side effects can be more prevalent with atorvastatin, while others are more likely to occur with simvastatin. Keep reading to determine what side effects are more likely to occur with what medication. [1]

Side effects of atorvastatin and simvastatin?

Simvastatin and atorvastatin both have potential side effects. Keep in mind that the side effects of both medications can vary. Below are some of the most common adverse effects of these medications:

Stomach issues: Both medicines may cause stomach problems and diarrhea. These adverse effects usually subside within a few weeks.

Muscle pain: All statins can induce muscle soreness, but simvastatin users are more prone to experience this side effect. The muscle pain may feel like a torn muscle caused by physical activity. Notify your doctor if you experience any new pain while taking these medications, as muscle pain can indicate the onset of renal disease or injury.

Fatigue: Studies show that fatigue can be caused by either of these medicines.

Stroke: For individuals who have had an ischemic stroke or a transient ischemic attack (also called a mini-stroke) in the previous six months, a high dose of atorvastatin (80 mg per day) is linked to an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. 

Diabetes: Simvastatin and atorvastatin both increase blood sugar levels and diabetes risk. All statins have the potential to increase your hemoglobin A1C level, which is a long-term blood sugar level indicator.

Kidney problems: Atorvastatin may be an excellent option for individuals with kidney issues because the dosage does not need to be adjusted. However, if you take 80 mg of simvastatin, the highest dose, it can harm your kidneys. It may cause your kidneys to slow down as the medication accumulates in your system over time. However, according to the American Heart Association research, high-dose simvastatin and high-dose atorvastatin do not appear to enhance the risk of kidney complications. Furthermore, simvastatin dosages as high as 80 mg per day are no longer commonly prescribed. [3]

Lifestyle changes that may help control high cholesterol

Post it and stethoscope for high cholesterol awareness | e-Surgery

Simple lifestyle adjustments, such as implementing healthy activities like exercise, can aid your cardiovascular system to strengthen. On the other hand, the food you eat significantly impacts your cholesterol levels. One of the leading causes of heart disease nowadays is unhealthy processed foods. Avoiding the following fats is a simple diet modification that you can make to lower your cholesterol:

Avoid trans fats: Trans fats are divided into natural trans fats found in animal products and artificial trans fats produced through industrial processes. Manufactured trans fats, which are hydrogenated vegetable oils, are the most harmful trans fat. Trans fats are extensively used in creating most snacks, including cakes, donuts, and cookies. Natural trans fats found in animal products such as meat and cheese are less likely to cause cardiovascular disease. Natural trans fats are unlikely to cause a significant increase in bad cholesterol compared to processed trans fats.

Avoid saturated fats: Saturated fats are found in significant amounts in processed meals and animal products such as whole milk, red meat, and cheese. Total cholesterol levels are likely to rise due to saturated fat consumption which is known to increase LDL cholesterol. A study compared people’s dietary fat consumption, with one group eating 50g of butter per day to the same amount of olive oil or coconut oil. At the end of this study, the group that ate butter had significantly higher LDL cholesterol levels than those that consumed oils. Thus, saturated fat-rich diets are much more likely to elevate cholesterol than a diet consisting of monounsaturated fats. [4]

Where can I buy my high cholesterol medication?

You can buy high cholesterol medications such as Atorvastatin and Simvastatin on e-Surgery online by simply filling out a 2-minute health questionnaire. Before purchasing any medication always check with your doctor to see any potential drug interactions.

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1. Atorvastatin vs. simvastatin: Differences, similarities, and which is better for you (singlecare.com)

2. High cholesterol – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

3. Simvastatin or Atorvastatin: Which is Better for Cholesterol? (healthline.com)

4. ᐅ What Is A Normal Cholesterol Level In The UK? | E-Surgery

Further Reading

1. Switching statins | NCBI

2. Atorvastatin vs. simvastatin: Differences, similarities and more | SingleCare

3. Atorvastatin compared with simvastatin-based therapies | Oxford Academic