Vytorin contains a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin.
Vytorin is used to treat high cholesterol in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.
Ezetimibe reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.
Simvastatin is in a group of drugs called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, or “statins.” Simvastatin reduces levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) and triglycerides in the blood, while increasing levels of “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL).
You should not take Vytorin if you are allergic to ezetimibe or simvastatin, if you have liver disease, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. In rare cases, simvastatin can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). You may also be more likely to develop this condition if you are of Chinese descent and you take high-dose Vytorin while also taking medication that contains niacin (Advicor, Niaspan, Niacor, Simcor, Slo-Niacin, and others).
The following drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems if you take them together with simvastatin. These drugs should not be used while you are taking Vytorin:
- cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);
- danazol (Danocrine);
- gemfibrozil (Lopid);
- nefazodone (an antidepressant);
- the antibiotics clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, Pediazole), and telithromycin (Ketek);
- the antifungal medications itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), and posaconazole (Noxafil);
- hepatitis C medications such as boceprevir (Victrelis) or telaprevir (Incivek); or
- the HIV/AIDS medications atazanavir (Reyataz), darunavir (Prezista), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), ritonavir (Kaletra, Norvir), saquinavir (Fortovase), or tipranavir (Aptivus).
Before you start taking Vytorin, tell your doctor if you are already using any of these other medicines:
- amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone);
- amlodipine (Norvasc, Caduet, Exforge, Lotrel, Tekamlo, Tribenzor, Twynsta, Amturnide);
- diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem);
- ranolazine (Ranexa); or
- verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan).
To make sure you can safely take Vytorin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
- history of liver disease;
- history of kidney disease;
- a thyroid disorder; or
- if you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages daily.
FDA pregnancy category X. Vytorin can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not take Vytorin if you are pregnant. Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are taking Vytorin. Ezetimibe and simvastatin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed while you are taking Vytorin.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Vytorin: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop taking Vytorin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness;
- fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine;
- swelling, weight gain, urinating less than usual or not at all;
- chest pain, dry cough, wheezing, feeling short of breath;
- severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate;
- nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss).
Less serious Vytorin side effects may include:
- headache, dizziness, depressed mood;
- memory problems, confusion;
- back pain, joint pain, mild muscle pain;
- numbness or tingly feeling;
- trouble having an erection;
- sleep problems (insomnia); or
- cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.