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What Is the Difference Between Rosuvastatin and Simvastatin?

Simvastatin does not contain sulfur, while rosuvastatin does.
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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
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There are times when too much of a good thing can be bad, and having too much cholesterol is one example. If a person's cholesterol is too high, he or she may have impaired cardiovascular function, which can lead to a plethora of harmful and deadly diseases. One way to treat high cholesterol is through a class of drugs known as statins, rosuvastatin and simvastatin being among them. Although these two drugs are similar in function and composition, the primary difference is that rosuvastatin contains sulfur.

The other minor differences between rosuvastatin and simvastatin include branding, chemical properties, and dosages. Rosuvastatin is commonly found as the drug Crestor, whereas simvastatin is marketed most broadly as Zocor. Both of these drugs have a number of adverse effects, which may cause some patients to hesitate before agreeing to prescription use.

Among these adverse side effects are muscle cramps, upset stomach, headache, diarrhea, and other minor ailments. The more severe complaints are hair loss, myositis, and myopathy. Any prescription drug has the ability to adversely affect its user, which is why it is of the utmost importance for each patient to weigh the pros and cons of rosuvastatin and simvastatin before making a final decision.

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Cholesterol is a chemical naturally produced in the body, which may also be consumed through most fatty foods in order to maintain sufficient levels. This substance helps the body with cellular maintenance, production of sex cells, and a number of other essential functions. If cholesterol is overconsumed or too much is synthesized by a person's body, an undesirable level may be achieved, which can lead to hardened arteries or plaques.

Both hardened arteries and plaques are dangerous in that they act to reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of blood flow throughout the body. Without proper blood flow, the body's organs shut down because of insufficient nutrition. It is easy to see how a seemingly simple fact of high cholesterol can have devastating effects on a person's health.

Along with recommending a proper lifestyle, which includes a diet rich in grains and low in saturated fats, as well as regular exercise, the provider managing a patient with high cholesterol may prescribe the use of statins to help. Both rosuvastatin and simvastatin fall under this categorical umbrella. They act to inhibit the hormone that stimulates cholesterol genesis, resulting in decreased levels of undesirable cholesterol.

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