Using Medicine to Lower Cholesterol
Cholesterol is essential for the body to function properly, but having levels that are too high can have serious consequences. High cholesterol puts you at greater risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke, and significantly increases the probability of cardiovascular disease. To keep these risks in check, doctors may recommend you to take cholesterol medicine.
Types of Cholesterol Medicines
There are several types of cholesterol medicine available:
- Statins: Statins are the most commonly prescribed cholesterol medicine. They work by blocking the enzyme that is responsible for producing cholesterol in the body. Common statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor).
- Fibrates: Fibrates work in a similar way to statins, but are slightly less effective. Some popular fibrates include fenofibrate (Tricor) and gemfibrozil (Lopid).
- Nicotinic Acid: Nicotinic acid is a form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that is sometimes prescribed to lower cholesterol. Nicotinic acid reduces levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, and it also raises “good” cholesterol (HDL).
- Bile Acid Sequestrants: Bile acid sequestrants are used to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. Common bile acid sequestrants include cholestyramine (Questran), colesevelam (WelChol), and colestipol (Colestid).
Common Side Effects
Although cholesterol medicines are generally safe and effective, they can cause side effects in some people. Common side effects of cholesterol medicines include headaches, nausea, muscle pain, and diarrhea. In rare cases, statins have been associated with serious liver problems. If you take cholesterol medicine and have any unusual symptoms, you should contact your doctor right away.
The Bottom Line
If you have high cholesterol, medicine may be able to help you lower it and reduce your risk of serious health problems. It is important to take your medicine as prescribed, and pay attention to any unusual symptoms that may occur. With the help of your doctor and the right medication, you can keep your cholesterol levels under control.
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Keywords: cholesterol medicine, statins, fibrates, nicotinic acid, bile acid sequestrants