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What Are the Differences between Atorvastatin and Simvastatin Treatments?

By H. Lo
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Atorvastatin and simvastatin are medications that treat high blood cholesterol and triglycerides. In general, both these medications lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increase good cholesterol in the process. The differences between these two treatments are the differences in the medications themselves. First, atorvastatin is a more potent medication than simvastatin, meaning taking a smaller dose of atorvastatin can be equal to taking a larger dose of simvastatin. Second, even though these medications perform the same treatment purposes, they interact differently with various other drugs, and either medication can potentially be unsuitable for a person depending on his overall health, since interferences between medications can lead to dangerous consequences.

In general, atorvastatin being a more potent medication than simvastatin means it is the stronger of the two when it comes to reducing cholesterol and triglycerides. The difference in potency indicates that, in general, those who take simvastatin might be able to receive further cholesterol treatment from atorvastatin if they need stronger medication for their condition. Of course, this also means that if a person requires a major reduction of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in his body, his initial treatment option might be atorvastatin and not simvastatin at all. Although atorvastatin and simvastatin differ in potency, treatment depends on a person’s specific condition and, as such, it is possible that one person’s dose of atorvastatin is the same potency as another person’s dose of simvastatin.

Sometimes, medications work differently when other drugs are present in the body. While some medications do not adversely affect the effectiveness of others, when they do interact negatively, it becomes a problem for the person taking the medication. For example, it can elevate the levels of the medication in the body and lead to dangerous medical conditions. Although atorvastatin and simvastatin are both in the same group of medications called statins, they differ when it comes to interacting with other drugs; in fact, statins can affect the function of other statins in the body. In addition to atorvastatin and simvastatin, other medications in the same group include fluvastatin, pravastatin and rosuvastatin.

Antidepressants, birth control pills, and blood pressure or heart medication are examples of drugs that can affect the way atorvastatin works. In addition, drugs that treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquire immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) can also interact with the medication. Drugs that interfere with simvastatin include antifungal medications, blood thinners, and medications with niacin. Also, drugs that weaken the immune system do not go well with simvastatin either.

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Discussion Comments
By anon342448 — On Jul 20, 2013

I use levothyroxine drug daily. Is it OK for me to use simvastatin?

By burcinc — On Mar 27, 2013

@alisha-- You really should ask your doctor this. Simvastatin in low doses might be okay for you but I don't think atorvastatin is okay for you at all.

I took atorvastatin for a while when my bad cholesterol was at its worst. It reduced my cholesterol dramatically and my doctor immediately switched me to simvastatin.

I saw a study recently which said that all statins cause muscle and nerve dame with long-term use. As far as I know, atorvastatin is the strongest statin on the market. It's very powerful even at the lowest doses. So it will cause more damage than simvastatin.

I think diabetics are already at risk of neuropathy so I don't think any doctor would give a diabetic a powerful statin like atorvastatin. But like I said, ask your doctor for the most accurate answer. This is just my opinion.

By ZipLine — On Mar 26, 2013

I don't know about atorvastatin but simvastatin has contraindications with so many drugs.

I'm taking high blood pressure medication as well as several different medications for cholesterol. I couldn't take simvastatin because it was interacting negatively with several of my medications.

All cholesterol medications also interact negatively with grapefruit. So I can't consume any grapefruit products now.

By discographer — On Mar 26, 2013

Which of these medications is safer for diabetics?

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