Zocor® and Alcohol Interactions

Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol While Taking Zocor®?

Zocor® (simvastatin) "should be used with caution in patients who consume substantial quantities of alcohol and/or have a past history of liver disease," the patient information pamphlet accompanying the medication says.

The drug information goes on to say that "Active liver diseases or unexplained transaminase (liver enzymes) elevations are contraindications to the use of simvastatin."

Other Dangerous Zocor® Drug Interactions

Some medications cause Zocor® to last longer in the body. Because of the way Zocor® interacts with certain drugs, they should not be taken at the same time as Zocor® or the drug dosage of Zocor® should be lowered when taking these other medications.

The following drugs are contraindicated (not to be used) when taking simvastatin:

  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Posaconazole
  • Erythromycin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Telithromycin
  • HIV protease inhibitors
  • Nefazodone
  • Gemfibrozil
  • Cyclosporine
  • Danazol

Simvastatin doses must be limited to 10 mg/day when taking the following medications:

Simvastatin must be limited to 20 mg/day when taking:

  • Amlodipine
  • Ranolazine

The medication directions also say to avoid large quantities of grapefruit juice (more than 1 quart daily.)

Zocor® Side Effects

Recent changes to Zocor®'s label concern its highest 80 mg dosage, the need for restricted dosing, co-administration with other drugs, patients with certain genetic predispositions and Chinese patients taking lipid-modifying doses of niacin-containing products.

In June 2011 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a number of new warnings about taking the highest 80 mg/day dose of Zocor® or simvastatin. (Two other medications contain simvastatin.) The FDA's review of numerous study data showed that myopathy (muscle pain) and rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown that can lead to kidney failure and death) have occurred in a significant number of patients taking the 80 mg/day dose.

Because of the dangers of these conditions, the FDA published an alert for consumers and physicians. The notice warned that only patients who have been taking Zocor® for a year or longer with no adverse effects should be allowed to take the 80 mg/day dose. In addition, the warning said that new patients should not be started at that high dosage level, nor should patients who have been taking a lower dose have their dose raised to the 80 m/day level.

Other changes made to the patient and doctor information were that physicians needed to monitor patients' liver and endocrine function while on the medication.

For more information about dangerous interactions with alcohol and/or medications, contact your doctor. If you've suffered a serious complication as a result of taking Zocor® either in combination with another drug or by itself, you should contact our Zocor® attorneys to find out if you qualify for compensation.

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