Grapefruit Interacts Dangerously with Zocor®

The patient information leaflet that accompanies the prescription medicine Zocor® (simvastatin) cautions not to drink more than 1 quart per day of grapefruit juice while taking the medication.

Drinking large quantities of grapefruit juice (more than one quart per day) or taking certain medications at the same time as you take Zocor® increases the chances a patient will develop myopathy (muscle pain) or rhabdomyolysis (a rare disorder that leads to muscle breakdown, and possibly kidney failure, and death).

These substances have a biochemical interaction with simvastatin that causes it to stay longer in the body. This longer-than-normal exposure increases the toxic effect of the drug.

FDA Warns Against High Levels of Simvastatin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that in 2010 an estimated 2.1 million patients in the U.S. were on a product that contained 80 mg of simvastatin.

The agency issued an alert in June 2011 to notify patients and health care providers about an increased risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis in patients taking an 80 mg dose of simvastatin. The FDA warned that only patients who have been taking Zocor® for a year or longer should be receiving this highest dose of the medication because of the possibility of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis.

Other Dangerous Zocor® Drug Interactions

Zocor®'s label was updated with information about 11 drugs or types of medications that are contraindicated (not to be taken) when on Zocor®. These drugs are itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin, telithromycin, HIV protease inhibitors, nefazodone, gemfibrozil, cyclosporine, and danazol.

The label change also states that simvastatin should be limited to 10 mg per day when taking amiodarone, verapamil, and diltiazem. The maximum amount of simvastatin taken daily is 20 mg when also taking amlodipine and ranolazine.

Zocor® is manufactured by Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, a subsidiary of Merck and Co., Inc. Its main pharmaceutical component is simvastatin, which also is contained in two other medications: when combined with ezetimibe it is sold as Vytorin®; when combined with niacin, it is sold as Simcor®.

For more information, contact our Zocor® attorneys today.

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