If side effects develop while you are taking Vytorin, alternatives to the drug may be considered. One alternative is to take simvastatin by itself or simply switch to another type of statin, such as rosuvastatin or fluvastatin. Ezetimibe can also be taken by itself. Other major classes of cholesterol medications that are considered Vytorin alternatives include fibrates, niacin, and bile acid sequestrants.
Lifestyle changes are often the first line of treatment for lowering cholesterol. However, for some people, treating high cholesterol with a low cholesterol diet, weight control, and exercise are not enough. If lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient, your doctor can prescribe cholesterol medications. One such medicine is Vytorin® (ezetimibe/simvastatin). For most people, Vytorin is quite effective in lowering cholesterol and is also generally well tolerated. However, there is a possibility that Vytorin side effects may occur, and people may wish to consider an alternative, such as statins or other cholesterol medicines.
As mentioned, Vytorin combines simvastatin and ezetimibe. Simvastatin is part of a class of drugs called statins. Ezetimibe is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor.
One Vytorin alternative is to take simvastatin by itself. Simvastatin is available as a generic drug or under the brand name Zocor®. Simvastatin is part of a class of drugs called statins (or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). Statins work by blocking a particular enzyme, HMG-CoA reductase, which controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. This causes the liver to make less cholesterol. Statins also:
- Increase the liver's ability to collect and get rid of LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol")
- Increase HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol")
- Decrease triglycerides.
Besides simvastatin, several types of statins are available that could also be considered substitutes for Vytorin. These include:
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor®) or combination medications that contain atorvastatin (Caduet®, Liptruzet™)
- Fluvastatin (Lescol®, Lescol® XL)
- Lovastatin (Altoprev®, Mevacor®) or combination medications that contain lovastatin (Advicor®)
- Pitavastatin (Livalo®)
- Pravastatin (Pravachol®)
- Rosuvastatin (Crestor®).
Ezetimibe by itself could also be considered a substitute for Vytorin. It is sold under the brand name Zetia®. A generic Zetia is not available.