In today's times, our lives have become really hectic and busy. This leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. As we are really busy, we do not pay a lot of attention to our diets. With everything becoming really fast, the fast food trend is also increasing rapidly. All these bad eating habits and lack of exercise caused by sedentary lifestyle lead to excessive weight gain in people. The weight gain in its turn causes a lot of diseases, and one of such diseases is high cholesterol level. High cholesterol can lead to a lot of problems including high blood pressure, clogging of arteries and also hear attacks in most cases. Hence, the patients suffering from it need special medications. Atorvastatin and Simvastatin are two medicines that are given to the patients with high cholesterol levels. Both of these drugs have the same function of reducing the LDL (the "bad cholesterol") level in the body. In this article, we will learn more about these medicines and will compare them to each other.
What are Atorvastatin and Simvastatin?
Atorvastatin and Simvastatin are two drugs that are given to the patients suffering from high cholesterol or increased levels of LDL in their blood. These are chemicals that interfere with the cholesterol production in the cells and are a part of the statins family. The high level of cholesterol in the body is the reason for many cardiovascular problems such as narrowing of blood vessels, clots, and many other heart diseases. With these drugs, the cholesterol production in the body stops and it automatically balances the levels of cholesterol by taking away all the excess cholesterol that is stored in other places.
There are a few side effects caused by Atorvastatin and Simvastatin. These adverse effects include the following:
- Muscle pain: Muscle pain is the most common kind of side effect caused by these statins. The user usually feels really tired all the time. Muscle pain is not sudden and develops over time. This should be checked in with the doctor since it might show that you have a kidney problem.
- Upset stomach: Another side effect is diarrhea or upset stomach. This happens because your body is still getting used to with the drug. This will get fine over the course of two to three weeks or even less.
- Fatigue: Another side effect is excessive fatigue. This is much more common in women rather than in men. Additionally, people who take higher doses of Atorvastatin and Simvastatin are at a higher risk of getting tired easily.
- Liver and kidney diseases: People with kidney diseases should consult the doctor before taking these medicines. Atorvastatin is relatively better for the people suffering from kidney diseases in comparison to others. Also, the patients taking statins should not ignore any symptoms of liver diseases and see a doctor if need be.
- High blood sugar: Both of these statins can increase the blood sugar level in patients. These have the tendency to increase the level of glucose in the blood. There is also a risk of stroke in people who ingest higher dosage of these drugs i.e. above 80mg a day.
Differences between Atorvastatin and Simvastatin
One of the first differences comes from the effectiveness of these two drugs. Atorvastatin is much more effective and can reduce the LDL levels in the blood by more than 50%. The effectiveness is obviously calculated by taking into consideration many other factors, but it is still much more effective than Simvastatin. Simvastatin, on the other hand, can only reduce the LDL levels in the body by 30-50% which is a little less. However, if used continuously and with regular exercise, this can become much more effective in the end.
The price of these two drugs is another difference that you might be interested in. Although both of them are available in generic forms, Atorvastatin is much more expensive than Simvastatin. There is always a difference of up to $10 in these drugs. However, if you want to buy the brand version of these medicines, then Simvastatin more expensive than Atorvastatin. So, the difference comes down to what kind of drug you are taking.
The side effects are pretty much similar in both Atorvastatin and Simvastatin. However, they differ from one another. For example, while taking Simvastatin people usually suffer from fatigue and muscle pain. And in the case of Atorvastatin, people often experience diarrhea and upset stomach. Both of these drugs can cause an increase of the blood sugar level. The doctor will give you the needed recommendations on the precautionary measures that will help you to cope with the side effects.
The daily dose of Atorvastatin is 10-20mg, and the dosage should never go over 80mg per day for adults. For children, 10mg per day is enough and the dose of 20mg per day should not be exceed. For Simvastatin, the maximum dosage should not be over 40mg per day, especially for the people with high heart disease risk.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Both of these drugs are not prescribed to the pregnant women as they are really bad for the fetus and the growth of the infant. Even the women who are in the childbearing age are not prescribed with the statins because of the potential effects during pregnancy. Statins can pass through the blood to the breast milk and hence it is not advisable for the mothers who are breastfeeding to take them as well.
Atorvastatin and Simvastatin are two very important drugs for the people that are suffering from high cholesterol levels. However, they do come with some really serious side effects. The patients with high cholesterol levels should first try to lose weight and exercise regularly to get rid of the excessive cholesterol from their blood because these statins cannot be taken for a long time. Making a change in food habits is also very important in some cases. Whatever you do, make sure you consult your doctor before taking any medicines.