SIMVASTATIN: Package Insert and Label Information (Page 2 of 5)
6.2 Postmarketing Experience
The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of simvastatin. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
Body as whole
fever, chills, malaise, asthenia
Blood and Lymphatic System Disorders
anemia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, hemolytic anemia, positive ANA, ESR increase, eosinophilia
Hepatic and Pancreatic Disorders
hepatitis/jaundice, fatal and non-fatal hepatic failure
Immune System Disorders
hypersensitivity syndrome including: anaphylaxis, angioedema, lupus erythematous-like syndrome, dermatomyositis, vasculitis
Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders
muscle cramps, immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy, polymyalgia rheumatica, arthritis
Nervous System Disorders
dizziness, depression, paresthesia, peripheral neuropathy. Rare reports of cognitive impairment (e.g., memory loss, forgetfulness, amnesia, memory impairment, confusion) associated with statin use. Cognitive impairment was generally nonserious, and reversible upon statin discontinuation, with variable times to symptom onset (1 day to years) and symptom resolution (median of 3 weeks).
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders
pruritus, alopecia, a variety of skin changes (e.g., nodules, discoloration, dryness of skin/mucous membranes, changes to hair/nails), purpura, lichen planus, urticaria, photosensitivity, flushing, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome
Respiratory and Thoracic
interstitial lung disease, dyspnea
Reproductive System Disorders
7 DRUG INTERACTIONS
7.1 Drug Interactions that Increase the Risk of Myopathy and Rhabdomyolysis with Simvastatin
Simvastatin is a substrate of CYP3A4 and of the transport protein OATP1B1. Simvastatin exposure can be significantly increased with concomitant administration of inhibitors of CYP3A4 and OATP1B1. Table 2 includes a list of drugs that increase the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis when used concomitantly with simvastatin and instructions for preventing or managing them [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS (5.1) AND CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY (12.3)].
|Strong CYP3A4 inhibitors|
|Clinical Impact:||Simvastatin is a substrate of CYP3A4. Concomitant use of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors with simvastatin increases simvastatin exposure and increases the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis, particularly with higher simvastatin dosages.|
|Intervention:||Concomitant use of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors with Simvastatin is contraindicated [see CONTRAINDICATIONS (4)]. If treatment with a CYP3A4 inhibitor is unavoidable, suspend simvastatin during the course of strong CYP3A4 inhibitor treatment.|
|Examples:||Select azole anti-fungals (e.g., itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, and voriconazole), select macrolide antibiotics (e.g., erythromycin and clarithromycin), select HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., nelfinavir, ritonavir, and darunavir/ritonavir), select HCV protease inhibitors (e.g., boceprevir and telaprevir), cobicistat-containing products, and nefazodone.|
|Cyclosporine, Danazol, or Gemfibrozil|
|Clinical Impact:||The risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis is increased with concomitant use of cyclosporine, danazol, or gemfibrozil with simvastatin. Gemfibrozil may cause myopathy when given alone.|
|Intervention:||Concomitant use of cyclosporine, danazol, or gemfibrozil with simvastatin is contraindicated [see CONTRAINDICATIONS (4)].|
|Amiodarone, Dronedarone, Ranolazine, or Calcium Channel Blockers|
|Clinical Impact:||The risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis is increased by concomitant use of amiodarone, dronedarone, ranolazine, or calcium channel blockers with simvastatin.|
|Intervention:||For patients taking verapamil, diltiazem, or dronedarone, do not exceed simvastatin 10 mg daily. For patients taking amiodarone, amlodipine, or ranolazine, do not exceed simvastatin 20 mg daily [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION (2.5)].|
|Clinical Impact:||Simvastatin exposure is approximately doubled with concomitant use of lomitapide and the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis is increased.|
|Intervention:||Reduce the dose of simvastatin by 50% if initiating lomitapide. Do not exceed simvastatin 20 mg daily (or simvastatin 40 mg daily for patients who have previously taken simvastatin 80 mg daily chronically) while taking lomitapide [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION (2.1, 2.5)].|
|Clinical Impact:||Cases of rhabdomyolysis have been reported with simvastatin administered with daptomycin. Both simvastatin and daptomycin can cause myopathy and rhabdomyolysis when given alone and the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis may be increased by coadministration.|
|Intervention:||If treatment with daptomycin is required, consider temporarily suspending simvastatin during the course of daptomycin treatment.|
|Clinical Impact:||Cases of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis have been observed with concomitant use of lipid modifying dosages of niacin-containing products (≥1 gram/day niacin) with simvastatin. The risk of myopathy is greater in Chinese patients. In a clinical study (median follow-up 3.9 years) of patients at high risk of CVD and with well-controlled LDL-C levels on simvastatin 40 mg/day with or without ezetimibe 10 mg/day, there was no incremental benefit on cardiovascular outcomes with the addition of lipid-modifying doses of niacin.|
|Intervention:||Concomitant use of simvastatin with lipid-modifying dosages of niacin is not recommended in Chinese patients [see USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS (8.8)]. For non-Chinese patients, consider if the benefit of using lipid-modifying doses of niacin concomitantly with simvastatin outweighs the increased risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. If concomitant use is decided, monitor patients for signs and symptoms of myopathy, particularly during initiation of therapy and during upward dose titration of either drug.|
|Fibrates (other than Gemfibrozil)|
|Clinical Impact:||Fibrates may cause myopathy when given alone. The risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis is increased with concomitant use of fibrates with simvastatin.|
|Intervention :||Consider if the benefit of using fibrates concomitantly with simvastatin outweighs the increased risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. If concomitant use is decided, monitor patients for signs and symptoms of myopathy, particularly during initiation of therapy and during upward dose titration of either drug.|
|Clinical Impact:||Cases of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis have been reported with concomitant use of colchicine with simvastatin.|
|Intervention:||Consider if the benefit of using colchicine concomitantly with simvastatin outweighs the increased risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis. If concomitant use is decided, monitor patients for signs and symptoms of myopathy, particularly during initiation of therapy and during upward dose titration of either drug.|
|Clinical Impact:||Grapefruit juice can raise the plasma levels of simvastatin and may increase the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis.|
|Intervention:||Avoid grapefruit juice when taking simvastatin.|
7.2 Simvastatin Effects on Other Drugs
Table 3 presents Simvastatin’s effect on other drugs and instructions for preventing or managing them.
|Clinical Impact:||Simvastatin may potentiate the effect of coumarin anticoagulants and increase the INR. The concomitant use of simvastatin (20 to 40 mg) and coumarin anticoagulants increased the INR from a baseline of 1.7 to 1.8 in healthy subjects and from 2.6 to 3.4 in patients with hyperlipidemia. There are postmarketing reports of clinically evident bleeding and/or increased INR in patients taking concomitant statins and warfarin.|
|Intervention:||In patients taking coumarin anticoagulants, obtain an INR before starting simvastatin and frequently enough after initiation, dose titration, or discontinuation to ensure that no significant alteration in INR occurs. Once the INR is stable, monitor INR at regularly recommended intervals.|
|Clinical Impact:||Concomitant use of digoxin with simvastatin may result in elevated plasma digoxin concentrations [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY (12.3) ].|
|Intervention:||Monitor digoxin levels in patients taking digoxin when simvastatin is initiated.|
8 USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS
Discontinue simvastatin when pregnancy is recognized. Alternatively, consider the ongoing therapeutic needs of the individual patient.
Simvastatin decreases synthesis of cholesterol and possibly other biologically active substances derived from cholesterol; therefore, simvastatin may cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant patients based on the mechanism of action [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY (12.1)]. In addition, treatment of hyperlipidemia is not generally necessary during pregnancy. Atherosclerosis is a chronic process and the discontinuation of lipid-lowering drugs during pregnancy should have little impact on the outcome of long-term therapy of primary hyperlipidemia for most patients.
Available data from case series and prospective and retrospective observational cohort studies over decades of use with statins in pregnant women have not identified a drug-associated risk of major congenital malformations. Published data from prospective and retrospective observational cohort studies with simvastatin use in pregnant women are insufficient to determine if there is a drug-associated risk of miscarriage (see Data).
In animal reproduction studies, no adverse developmental effects were observed in pregnant rats or rabbits orally administered simvastatin during the period of organogenesis at doses that resulted in 2.5 and 2 times, respectively, the human exposure at the maximum recommended human dosage of 80 mg/day, based on body surface area (mg/m2) (see DATA).
The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively.
A Medicaid cohort linkage study of 1152 statin-exposed pregnant women compared to 886,996 controls did not find a significant teratogenic effect from maternal use of statins in the first trimester of pregnancy, after adjusting for potential confounders – including maternal age, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, and alcohol and tobacco use – using propensity score-based methods. The relative risk of congenital malformations between the group with statin use and the group with no statin use in the first trimester was 1.07 (95% confidence interval 0.85 to 1.37) after controlling for confounders, particularly pre-existing diabetes mellitus. There were also no statistically significant increases in any of the organ-specific malformations assessed after accounting for confounders. In the majority of pregnancies, statin treatment was initiated prior to pregnancy and was discontinued at some point in the first trimester when pregnancy was identified. Study limitations include reliance on physician coding to define the presence of a malformation, lack of control for certain confounders such as body mass index, use of prescription dispensing as verification for the use of a statin, and lack of information on non-live births.
Simvastatin was given to pregnant rats at doses of 6.25, 12.5 and 25 mg/kg/day (0.6 times, 1.3 times, and 2.5 times, respectively, the maximum recommended dosage of 80 mg/day when normalized to body surface area) from gestation days 6-17 and to pregnant rabbits from gestation days 6-18 at doses of 2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg/day (0.5 times, 1 times, and 2 times, respectively, the maximum recommended dosage of 80 mg/day when normalized to body surface area). For both species, there was no evidence of maternal toxicity or embryolethality. In rats, mean fetal body weights in the 25 mg/kg/day group were decreased 5.4%. Similar fetal body weight effects were not observed in rabbits.
Simvastatin doses of 6.25, 12.5 and 25 mg/kg/day (0.6 times, 1.3 times, and 2.5 times, respectively, the maximum recommended dosage of 80 mg/day when normalized to body surface area) were given to pregnant rats from gestation day 15 to lactation day 21. Slight decreases in maternal body weight gain and pup postnatal day 0 weight were observed in the 25 mg/kg/day dose group. Mean body weight gain of pups during lactation was slightly decreased at doses ≥12.5 mg/kg/day. Post weaning weight, behavior, reproductive performance and fertility of the offspring were not affected at any dose tested.
Placental transfer of simvastatin was not evaluated in rats or rabbits. However, it has been shown that other drugs in this class cross the placenta.
There is no information about the presence of simvastatin in human or animal milk, the effects of the drug on the breastfed infant or the effects of the drug on milk production. However, it has been shown that another drug in this class passes into human milk. Statins, including
simvastatin, decrease cholesterol synthesis and possibly the synthesis of other biologically active substances derived from cholesterol and may cause harm to the breastfed infant.
Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in a breastfed infant, based on the mechanism of action, advise patients that breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with simvastatin [see USE IN SPECIFIC POPULATIONS (8.1), CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY (12.1)].
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