Atorvastatin Vs Simvastatin: Differences & Similarities

Drugs January 21st, 2023

Atorvastatin and Simvastatin are statin drugs prescribed for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). According to statistics, over 200 million patients worldwide taking statin drugs. The percentage of statin patients increased from 18 percent to 26 percent from 2003 to 2012. It is unfortunate, but the percentage continues to increase, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “CDC.” The majority of patients are 40 years of age and older. Learning about the difference between Atorvastatin Vs Simvastatin , will help you to choose the right pill for you.

MCG-CoA reductase inhibitors, better known as statin drugs, work by reducing the amount of Low-Density Lipoprotein “LDL,” also known as “bad cholesterol” in the blood. When the drugs are working, LDL decreases, and High-Density Lipoprotein “HDL,” good cholesterol, increases.

Primary care physicians are required by law to perform a lipid panel before prescribing statin drugs. Lipid (fatty substances) in the blood is measured by mg/dL. A normal lipid panel or cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL. Physicians do not always prescribe Atorvastatin or Simvastatin to patients with a borderline high (200 to 239 mg/dL) lipid panel. Instead, patients are advised to reduce their fatty food intake, exercise more, and stop smoking.

Pregnancy And Statins

The US Food and Drug Administration “FDA” does not recommend statin medications in pregnant women. However, a very important exception allows physicians to prescribe Simvastatin and Atorvastatin during pregnancy. Physicians must first determine if it is in their pregnant patients’ best interests to take statins. In other words, the benefits “must” outweigh the risks in pregnant women with a high risk for stroke or a heart attack.

Pregnant women diagnosed with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia can benefit from statin medications. In addition to these high-risk patients, pregnant women with a history of stroke or heart attack can also benefit.

Women who become pregnant while being prescribed Atorvastatin Vs Simvastatin drugs should contact their obstetricians immediately. Do not continue taking statins once your pregnancy is confirmed.

Pregnant women planning to breastfeed should consult with their endocrinologists in advance.

Brand Names

  • Simvastatin – Zocor and Flolipid
  • Atorvastatin – Lipitor

Viable Atorvastatin Uses

Atorvastatin and other statins are used to help lower cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. Statins, such as Atorvastatin, are prescribed to people with high cholesterol levels to help offset the risks. If cholesterol levels are not reduced, the patient’s blood vessels could be clogged by fats.

Ultimately, this could lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and chest pain. Taking atorvastatin will reduce cholesterol levels and minimize the risk that the patient will experience a life-threatening stroke or heart attack.

Atorvastatin Vs Simvastatin:

Atorvastatin Vs Simvastatin

These statin medications are primarily used to lower blood cholesterol levels. While they are used for the same purpose, there are key differences between Atorvastatin Vs Simvastatin. Learning more about these differences can help patients and medical professionals determine which drug is best in the current situation.

1. Atorvastatin Potency

The primary difference between atorvastatin and simvastatin is the potency of these drugs. Studies have found that the former medication is more potent and lasts longer. Atorvastatin is strong enough to reliably reduce blood cholesterol levels without harming the patient. Furthermore, its effects are longer lasting so it can be taken at night or first thing in the morning.

While the doctor will determine which drug is best in each unique situation, atorvastatin will be selected more often.

2. Is Atorvastatin Safe?

Another key difference is the fact that atorvastatin tends to be safer than simvastatin. Even though it is more potent, atorvastatin is less likely to cause adverse reactions. Patients taking simvastatin daily will be more likely to experience weakness and muscle pain.

As the dose increases, the risks associated with simvastatin are greatly elevated. Women have a higher risk of experiencing fatigue from statins, but the risks can be reduced by using atorvastatin instead of simvastatin.

Generally, finding the right statin for each patient doesn’t involve comparing statins. Instead, the medical professional will analyze the patient’s weight, age, and medical history to determine whether they should receive atorvastatin or simvastatin.

3. Other Differences

There are other differences between simvastatin and atorvastatin. The available strengths are one. Atorvastatin is available in 10mg, 20mg, 40mg, and 80mg. While simvastatin is available in those doses, it is also available in 5mg tablets. It should also be noted that simvastatin is slightly less expensive than atorvastatin in most cases.

However, the price will depend on whether the patient chooses a brand-name drug or a generic one.

Typical Atorvastatin Dosage

To properly manage blood cholesterol levels, it is essential for patients to take an adequate dose of atorvastatin daily. Typically, the medical professional will set the dose based on the patient’s age, weight, and health. Furthermore, the dose may be progressively increased over a period to minimize the risks and properly decrease cholesterol levels.

Atorvastatin Dosage

Patients will usually start by consuming between 10 and 20 milligrams of atorvastatin each day. In some situations, a licensed healthcare professional may increase the starting dose up to 40 mg each day. The dose could be increased until the patient’s blood cholesterol is reduced to safe levels, but the dose should never exceed 80 milligrams each day.

Extreme caution is needed when giving statins to children so it is best to work with a medical professional. Children under 10 should never be given atorvastatin without talking to a doctor. Children between 10 and 17 will usually start with 10 milligrams per day and should not take more than 20 mg daily.

Missed Atorvastatin Dose

Missing too many doses of atorvastatin could lead to serious problems so it is vital to follow the doctor’s recommended guidelines. However, missing a dose once in a while shouldn’t cause too many issues. Once this happens, the medication should be consumed immediately unless it is time for the next dose.

Patients should never take a double dose of statins since that would be riskier than missing a dose. Instead, they should ignore the missed dose and continue with the schedule provided by the medical professional.

Atorvastatin 40 MG Vs 20 MG

With most medications, it is best to err on the side of caution to avoid overdosing and severe adverse effects. Upping the dosage too much can lead to life-threatening complications. Atorvastatin is no different although 40 milligrams shouldn’t be a deadly dose for the majority of adult patients. Instead, medical professionals debate whether there are benefits of increasing the dose from 20 to 40 mg.

Whether the patient receives 20mg or 40mg, they will experience reduced lipids. Surprisingly, the results varied slightly in studies. There may be a tiny benefit from consuming 40mg of atorvastatin, but the difference is negligible. Therefore, medical professionals will usually recommend starting with 20mg since the risks are lower and the results are equal.

While 40mg daily is typically safe for treating dyslipidemic disorders, most patients will be fine with 20mg or even 10mg. Discussing the options with a licensed doctor is recommended because they will study the patient’s situation to find the best dose.

Possible Atorvastatin Interactions

Once someone has been prescribed a statin, their doctor will tell them about potential interactions. It is essential to avoid mixing drugs with substances that could cause interactions since the results could be deadly. Atorvastatin and Simvastatin can interact with other medications and substances so it is pertinent for patients to be cautious.

For starters, individuals taking statins should avoid consuming grapefruit and grapefruit juice. The problem is that grapefruit can impact the body’s ability to break down certain statins. As a result, this could cause more statins to remain in the body and lead to an increased risk of adverse effects.

Patients using atorvastatin should also avoid using Paxlovid, other cholesterol drugs, and HIV medications. Do not mix atorvastatin with alcohol because the combination will greatly increase the risk of liver issues.

Atorvastatin And Breastfeeding

In some cases, it may be okay to take atorvastatin when breastfeeding a baby, but there are risks involved. It is always wise to consult with a pharmacist or doctor to determine whether to stop using this statin. The problem is that the statin could be passed to the baby through breast milk.

In general, it is always best for patients to stop using statins when breastfeeding.

Available Atorvastatin Discounts

Statin drugs such as Atorvastatin can be very expensive with some costing more than $400 a month. Unfortunately, these medications are often required since failing to take them as recommended could lead to serious repercussions. Thankfully, the price can be decreased by taking advantage of the CharityRx prescription discount card.

The medication may also be covered by insurance policies and Medicare, but discounts are available for the uninsured.

Afterword About Atorvastatin

Patients with high blood cholesterol may be required to take statins to maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. While there are other statin drugs, Atorvastatin Vs Simvastatin tend to be two of the most commonly prescribed medications in this category. The primary difference between the two is the fact that Atorvastatin is more potent and longer lasting.

It can also be taken first thing when the patient wakes up or at night. Patients who haven’t achieved the desired results with Simvastatin should talk to their doctors about switching to Atorvastatin which is more effective in most cases.

CharityRx pharmacy discount card

You can download the CharityRx discount card and get up to 80% discount on medicines at any of the partner pharmacies closest to you. The discount may vary depending on the drug and location.