Compare Simvastatin vs. Niaspan

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Zocor
(simvastatin)

Niaspan
(niacin)

Lowers cholesterol. Zocor (Simvastatin) is a good medication to improve your cholesterol. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.Lowers cholesterol. Niaspan (Niacin) lowers triglycerides, but isn't as good as statins for improving cholesterol levels.
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Prices and coupon for 30 (20mg) tablets of simvastatin
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Prices and coupon for 30 (500mg) tablets of niacin
Reviews & ratings
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Filter group. All currently selected
5.13Simvastatin
Reviews for Zocor (simvastatin)
61%
of people (All ages) say Zocor (simvastatin) is worth it
48%
say it works well
14%
say it's a big hassle
1176 reviews
Have you used Zocor (simvastatin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Niaspan (niacin)
43%
-18% worse vs. Zocor (simvastatin)
31%
-17% worse vs. Zocor (simvastatin)
19%
-5% worse vs. Zocor (simvastatin)
380 reviews
Have you used Niaspan (niacin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
SimvastatinNiaspan
  • Upper respiratory infections 9%
  • Abdominal pain 7%
  • Constipation 7%
  • Headache 7%
  • Bronchitis 1%
  • Abnormal heart rhythm 1%
  • Nausea 5%
  • Scaly, itchy rash 2%
  • Upset stomach 3%
  • Vertigo 1%
More Simvastatin side effects »
  • Flushing 49%
  • Itching 6%
  • Rash 5%
More Niaspan side effects »
How it works
SimvastatinNiaspan
Zocor (Simvastatin) is cholesterol-lowering medicine called a statin. It lowers the amount of cholesterol your body makes, which helps lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL).Niaspan (Niacin) is a cholesterol-lowering medicine. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to lower the amount of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) made by the liver.
Type of medication
SimvastatinNiaspan
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
SimvastatinNiaspan
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for
SimvastatinNiaspan
Risk factors for serious side effects
SimvastatinNiaspan
  • Kidney disease
  • High dose of Zocor (Simvastatin)
  • Combining Zocor (Simvastatin) with certain cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Older age and female gender
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • History of chronic liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Certain drugs can increase the dose of Zocor (Simvastatin) in the body
    Detailed Zocor (simvastatin) risks & warnings »
    • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with statins
    • Heavy alcohol use
    • Past history of liver disease
    • Diabetes
    • Taking Niaspan (Niacin) with anticoagulants
    • Gout
    Detailed Niaspan (niacin) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy

    Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    Interactions
    SimvastatinNiaspan
    • Certain medications can interact with this drug. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
    • Niaspan (Niacin) can interact with blood thinners and make you more likely to bleed. Your doctor may have you do regular blood tests and change your medication doses.
    Alcohol
    SimvastatinNiaspan
    • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
    • Don't have alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
    Food
    SimvastatinNiaspan
    No food related info.
    • You need to take it before bedtime with a low-fat snack.
    • Don't have alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
    • Niaspan (Niacin) can interact with blood thinners and make you more likely to bleed. Your doctor may have you do regular blood tests and change your medication doses.
    Kidneys and liver
    SimvastatinNiaspan
    • Statins can cause digestive problems, blood sugar problems, muscle aches and stiffness, muscle injury, kidney damage, and liver damage. Some people have to stop taking this medicine because of these problems.
    • There are rare cases of muscle damage leading to kidney failure in people taking Zocor (Simvastatin). The risk is greater in people with kidney disease or thyroid disease, are older and female and taking certain cholesterol-lowering medication combinations. Tell your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain, weakness or fever and there is no known cause.
    • There are reports of liver damage in people who take Zocor (Simvastatin), especially if they are heavy alcohol drinkers or have a history of liver disease. If you notice dark urine or yellowing of the eyes or skin, tell your doctor. Your doctor may also want to check your liver function periodically.
    No kidneys and liver related info.
    Pain
    SimvastatinNiaspan
    • Combining certain medications can increase the risk of muscle pain (myopathy), muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis) and kidney damage. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist when taking any new medications.
    • It can cause flushing and stomach pain or discomfort.
    Upsides and benefits
    SimvastatinNiaspan
    • Lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides (fats) and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
    • Can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death, particularly if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or a history of smoking.
    • Lowers "bad" cholesterol (LDL) and raises "good" cholesterol (HDL) in people who have trouble doing this through diet and exercise.
    • Good for lowering triglycerides (fats).
    Downsides and risks
    SimvastatinNiaspan
    • Statins can cause digestive problems, blood sugar problems, muscle aches and stiffness, muscle injury, kidney damage, and liver damage. Some people have to stop taking this medicine because of these problems.
    • You're at higher risk for these side effects if you are female, are 65 years or older, drink alcohol every day, take more than one medicine for cholesterol, or have liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.
    • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
    • By itself, Niaspan (Niacin) isn't as effective as statins for improving cholesterol levels.
    • It can cause flushing and stomach pain or discomfort.
    • You need to take it before bedtime with a low-fat snack.
    • If you miss doses often, you may need to re-start taking the medicine more regularly at a lower dose.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    SimvastatinNiaspan
    • Lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises good cholesterol.
    • Most people reach their target cholesterol levels in 4 to 6 weeks.
    • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
    • Tell your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain, fever, or weakness.
    • Tell your doctor if you notice dark urine or yellowing of the eyes or skin.
    • Certain medications can interact with this drug. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
    • Take Niaspan (Niacin) at bedtime with a low-fat snack.
    • Don't have alcohol, spicy foods, or hot beverages right before you take this medicine.
    • Can cause make your skin feel hot and change color. Your doctor may tell you to take an aspirin 30 minutes before you take Niaspan (Niacin) to reduce the flushing.
    • Call your doctor if you feel unexplained muscle pain.
    • Niaspan (Niacin) works differently from other medicines you can buy over-the-counter. Don't switch it with other medicines unless your doctor agrees.
    Learn more
    More about SimvastatinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Zocor (simvastatin)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about NiaspanSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Niaspan (niacin)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it