Breaking Down Cholesterol Medication (Heart Health)
High cholesterol is not a condition to be taken lightly. If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe medication, along with lifestyle changes. There are five major types of cholesterol-lowering medicines: statins, bile acid sequestrants, nicotinic acid, fibrates, and ezetimibe. Here is a simple breakdown of these commonly prescribed medications.
Statins. Statins are very effective in lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and is safe for most people. The only rare side effects to watch for are liver and muscle problems.
ile Acid Sequestrants. Bile acid sequestrants are used to help lower LDL cholesterol levels and are sometimes prescribed with statins. This medication is not usually prescribed as the only medication to lower cholesterol â€” it is usually combined with another drug.
Nicotinic Acid. Nicotinic acid lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol. This medication should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.
Fibrates. Fibrates help lower triglycerides (a form of fat found in the bloodsteam) and may help to increase HDL cholesterol levels. When used with a statin, however, this medication may increase the chance of side effects.
Ezetimibe. Ezetimibe helps lower LDL cholesterol and may be used with statins or alone. This medication acts within the intestine to block cholesterol absorption.
If you have additional questions about the cholesterol-lowering plan, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be sure to take an active role in your health â€” and that means knowing all aspects of your medication regimen.