Harvard Men's Health Watch

On call: Simvastatin in the morning?

Q. My doctor just started me on Zocor to lower my cholesterol. I have had just one side effect, forgetfulness. It's not as bad as it sounds, since my memory remains excellent, except that I often forget to take my pill in the evening. So I'd like to know if it would be okay for me to take Zocor in the morning with my other pills, which I never forget.

A. Many people have trouble remembering to take medications; drugs that are administered several times during the day are particularly troublesome.

Like the other statin drugs, simvastatin (Zocor, generic) reduces the liver's production of cholesterol, mainly by inhibiting a liver enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase (and that's the short name!). The liver normally produces less cholesterol while the food you've eaten is releasing its cholesterol into your bloodstream. That means your liver churns out cholesterol fastest at night, when your stomach is empty. And since simvastatin is cleared from the blood rapidly, it makes sense to have it on board when it will do the most good.

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