Vytorin, a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin, is a cholesterol medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July, 2004. Because heredity plays a role in cholesterol levels, Vytorin is often recommended for patients who are not able to lower their cholesterol through diet and exercise but have a family history of dealing with high cholesterol.
The drug works by blocking the body's ability from absorbing cholesterol. The result is it lowers the patient's bad cholesterol (LDL or triglycerides) and increases the good cholesterol (HDL). In clinical studies, Vytorin has been proven to lower bad cholesterol more than other reputable medications like Lipitor or Crestor.
Vytorin is an oral medication that should be taken with water at the same time each day. It may take up to four weeks to see results from Vytorin. If the patient misses a dose, he/she should take it as soon as possible. However, if it is close to the next dose, the patient should only take that dose. Double or extra doses are not recommended.
Vytorin should not be taken by patients who are being treated with antibiotics for HIV/AIDS or fungal infections. Also, it may interact with other antibiotics such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, and telithromycin. Pregnant women or those that are breastfeeding should not take this medicine. Also, patients with kidney or liver disease should not take Vytorin.
Red yeast rice and grapefruit juice should be avoided by patients taking Vytorin. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice have been shown to increase the amount of medication in the bloodstream.
Typical side effects from Vytorin include constipation, gas, indigestion, stomach pain, heartburn, and headache. Rare but serious side effects include skin rashes, hives, dark yellow or brown urine, depression, muscle pain, weakness, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. If any of these occur, the patient should contact a doctor immediately.
This medication is prescribed as part of a heart-healthy program including diet and exercise. The doctor will also recommend the patient to stop smoking if he/she is a smoker. Regular checkups and blood tests are necessary to measure the effectiveness of the medicine and to ensure that the liver continues to function properly.
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