A Kind of Medicine in Your System

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Zocor is an over-the-counter prescription drug that is prescribed as part of the daily diet of patients suffering from high cholesterol. High cholesterol may lead patients to CHD or coronary heart disease if it is unwitting attached with other complications like diabetes, other prior heart condition, stroke, and / or vascular disease. Zocor helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke, helps reduce the need for revascularization procedures (i.e. by-pass surgeries), and ultimately, helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease mortality. Its generic name is simvastatin, and it is an agent that lowers the number of lipids in the system. Zocor is only prescribed by doctors to patients whose cholesterol level cannot be controlled by a change of lifestyle (i.e. adherence to a specified diet and more exercise.)

Why is Zocor being administered?

Let's back-pedal a bit and find out why doctors prescribe Zocor in the first place.

Lipids are essentially fat, oil or wax substances. These substances are also known as bad cholesterol. They flow through the blood vessels and deposit themselves in the arterial walls of our hearts. These bad cholesterols then harden into plaques which eventually narrow the arteries. This surprisingly common disorder is called Atherosclerosis.

Now, if bad cholesterol still cannot be controlled and the plaques develop clots or if the coronary arteries become too narrow, oxygen-rich blood stalls or stops. Patients then have to go through surgical procedures ranging from by-pass surgeries to heart transplants. In the most extreme cases, the patient's heart fails: this is known as coronary death.

Things your doctor should know

Zocor isn't a drug suitable for everyone. Although it is considered relatively safe, there are reports of rare but serious side effects like muscle pain and inexplicable weakness after ingestion. Zocor may also react adversely to other medications in your system. So inform your doctor immediately if he prescribes or if you request Zocor as treatment.

Advise your doctor if you have: alcohol problem, blood salt imbalance, episodes of seizures or convulsions, hormonal disorders such as diabetes and under-active thyroid, infections of any kind, kidney disease, lactating or breastfeeding at the moment, liver disease, low blood pressure, muscle disorder or condition, pregnant or trying to get pregnant, prior or recent severe injury, recent surgery including dental surgery, and finally, if you have an unusual or allergic reaction to simvastatin, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives.

Also advise your doctor is you are taking one or more of the following drugs, as these can affect Zocor's effectiveness: amprenavir, atazanavir, clarithromycin, delavirdine, erythromycin, indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, lopinavir; mibefradil, nefazodone, nelfinavir ritonavir, and saquinavir.

These medications or cocktail of medications also affect Zocor, namely: amiodarone, barbiturates (i.e. phenobarbital, butalbital, primidone,) bosentan, carbamazepine, cyclosporine, danazol, digoxin, diltiazem, efavirenz, fluconazole, medicines that lower cholesterol or triglycerides (i.e. fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, niacin,) medicines used to stop early pregnancy (i.e. mifepristone, RU-486,) nicardipine, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, rifampin, rifabutin, or rifapentine, telithromycin, troleandomycin, verapamil, voriconazole, and warfarin.

Studies show that even the innocuous grapefruit reacts to Zocor, as with alcohol and red yeast rice.

This lengthy list of drugs and medications are to serve the discerning Zocor user to an informed choice when it comes to managing his cholesterol count. After all, it isn't the doctor's heart that is on the line.

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