Vytorin lowers cholesterol. Take medication in the evening. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Vytorin.

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Pharmacist Beth Bolt, RPh overviews the uses and common side effects of Vytorin.
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Pharmacist Beth Bolt, RPh overviews the uses and common side effects of Vytorin.
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Pharmacist Trey Robinson, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Ezetimibe and simvastatin

Vytorin Overview


Vytorin is a prescription medication used in combination with diet and exercise to treat high cholesterol. It is also used to lower cholesterol in people with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH, a hereditary disorder that causes high cholesterol levels).

This medication is a single tablet containing two prescription medicines, ezetimibe and simvastatin. Ezetimibe belongs to a group of drugs called cholesterol absorption inhibitors, which block the absorption of cholesterol from the intestines. Simvastatin belongs to a group of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, also known as statins, which block an enzyme in the body called HMG-CoA reductase. This is a major enzyme involved in making cholesterol in the body.

This medication comes in tablet form and is usually taken once daily, in the evening. Vytorin can be taken with or without food.

Common side effects of Vytorin include headache, muscle pain, and diarrhea.

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Vytorin Cautionary Labels


Uses of Vytorin

Vytorin is a prescription medicine used to lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and fatty substances called triglycerides in the blood. In addition, Vytorin raises levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. 

Vytorin is also used to lower cholesterol in people with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH, a hereditary disorder that causes high cholesterol levels).

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Vytorin Drug Class

Vytorin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Vytorin

See your doctor regularly to check your cholesterol level and to check for side effects. Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver before you start taking Vytorin  and if you have any symptoms of liver problems while you take Vytorin. Call your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms of liver problems:

  • feel tired or weak
  • loss of appetite
  • upper belly pain
  • dark urine
  • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

In clinical studies patients reported the following common side effects while taking Vytorin: headache, muscle pain, and diarrhea.

The following side effects have been reported in general use with Vytorin:

  • allergic reactions including swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing (which may require treatment right away), rash, hives; raised red rash, sometimes with target-shaped lesions; joint pain; muscle pain; alterations in some laboratory blood tests; liver problems (sometimes serious); inflammation of the pancreas; nausea; dizziness; tingling sensation; depression; gallstones; inflammation of the gallbladder; trouble sleeping; poor memory; memory loss; confusion; erectile dysfunction; breathing problems including persistent cough and/or shortness of breath or fever.

Tell your doctor if you are having these or any other medical problems while on Vytorin. This is not a complete list of side effects. For a complete list, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Vytorin Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • Certain anti-fungal medicines including:
    • itraconazole
    • ketoconazole
    • posaconazole
  • HIV protease inhibitors (indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, tipranavir, or atazanavir),
  • Certain antibiotics, including:
    • erythromycin
    • clarithromycin
    • telithromycin
  • nefazodone
  • A fibric acid medicine for lowering cholesterol called gemfibrozil
  • cyclosporine
  • danazol

Taking Vytorin with certain substances can increase the risk of muscle problems. It is especially important to tell your doctor if you take:

  • fibric acid derivatives (such as fenofibrate)
  • amiodarone (a drug used to treat an irregular heartbeat)
  • verapamil, diltiazem, amlodipine, or ranolazine (drugs used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain associated with heart disease, or other heart conditions)
  • large quantities of grapefruit juice (more than 1 quart daily)
  • colchicine (a medicine used to treat gout)
  • voriconazole (an anti-fungal medicine)
  • large doses of niacin or nicotinic acid

Tell your doctor if you are taking niacin or a niacin-containing product, as this may increase your risk of muscle problems, especially if you are Chinese.

It is also important to tell your doctor if you are taking coumarin anticoagulants (drugs that prevent blood clots, such as warfarin).

Vytorin Precautions

Vytorin includes a statin medication called simvastatin. Statin medications carry a rare but serious risk of:

  • liver damage
  • memory loss or confusion
  • increase in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia)
  • type 2 diabetes
  • immune-mediated muscle breakdown

Certain statins can increase risk of muscle weakness as well.  It is important to consult your physician to discuss the benefits and risks associated with using this medication.

Do not take Vytorin:

  • If you are allergic to ezetimibe or simvastatin, or to the inactive ingredients.
  • If you have active liver disease or repeated blood tests indicating possible liver problems.
  • If you are pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, or planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you are a woman of childbearing age, you should use an effective method of birth control to prevent pregnancy while using Vytorin.

Vytorin has not been studied in children under 10 years of age.

Vytorin Food Interactions

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Vytorin and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Inform MD

Before receiving this medication, tell your doctor:

  • about all the medicines you take, including any prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements
  • about all of your medical conditions including allergies
  • if you drink substantial quantities of alcohol or if you have ever had liver problems
  • if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Vytorin and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Vytorin falls into category X. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking Vytorin, stop taking it and contact your doctor immediately.

Vytorin and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding. 

It is not known if Vytorin crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Vytorin.


Vytorin Usage

  • Take Vytorin exactly as your doctor tells you to take it.
  • Take Vytorin once a day, in the evening, with or without food.
  • If you miss a dose, do not take an extra dose. Just resume your usual schedule.
  • Continue to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet while taking Vytorin. Ask your doctor if you need diet information.
  • Keep taking Vytorin unless your doctor tells you to stop. If you stop taking Vytorin, your cholesterol may rise again.

Vytorin Dosage

Take Vytorin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The usual dosage range is 10/10 mg/day to 10/40 mg/day. The recommended usual starting dose is 10/10 mg/day or 10/20 mg/day. Vytorin should be taken as a single daily dose in the evening, with or without food. 

Due to the increased risk of myopathy (muscle disease), including rhabdomyolysis, particularly during the first year of treatment, use of the 10/80-mg dose of Vytorin should be restricted to patients who have been taking Vytorin 10/80 mg chronically (e.g., for 12 months or more) without evidence of muscle toxicity.

Taking Vytorin with other medicines:

  • Patients taking Verapamil or Diltiazem: the dose of Vytorin should not exceed 10/10 mg/day.
  • Patients taking Amiodarone, Amlodipine or Ranolazine: the dose of Vytorin should not exceed 10/20 mg/day.
  • Patients taking Bile Acid Sequestrants (cholestyramine (Locholest light, Locholest, Prevalite), colestipol (Colestid, Flavored Colestid ), and colesevelam (Welchol) : dosing of ezetimibe/simvastatin should occur either ≥2 hours before or ≥4 hours after administration of a bile acid sequestrant.

Vytorin Overdose

If you take too much Vytorin contact your doctor right away or call your local Poison Control Center.

Other Requirements

  • Store this medicine at room temperature away from excess heat and moisture.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.