In addition to lifestyle changes, your doctor may prescribe medicines to help lower your cholesterol.
Medicines can help control high blood cholesterol, but they don’t cure it. Thus, you must continue taking your medicine to keep your cholesterol level in the recommended range.
The five major types of cholesterol-lowering medicines are statins, bile acid sequestrants (seh-KWES-trants), nicotinic (nick-o-TIN-ick) acid, fibrates, and ezetimibe.
Statins work well at lowering LDL cholesterol. These medicines are safe for most people. Rare side effects include muscle and liver problems.
Bile acid sequestrants also help lower LDL cholesterol. These medicines usually aren’t prescribed as the only medicine to lower cholesterol. Sometimes they’re prescribed with statins.
Nicotinic acid lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raises HDL cholesterol. You should only use this type of medicine with a doctor’s supervision.
Fibrates lower triglycerides, and they may raise HDL cholesterol. When used with statins, fibrates may increase the risk of muscle problems.
Ezetimibe lowers LDL cholesterol. This medicine works by blocking the intestine from absorbing cholesterol.
While you’re being treated for high blood cholesterol, you’ll need ongoing care. Your doctor will want to make sure your cholesterol levels are controlled. He or she also will want to check for other health problems.
If needed, your doctor may prescribe medicines for other health problems. Take all medicines exactly as your doctor prescribes. The combination of medicines may lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack.
While trying to manage your cholesterol, take steps to manage other heart disease risk factors too. For example, if you have high blood pressure, work with your doctor to lower it.
If you smoke, quit. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit smoking. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.
If you’re overweight or obese, try to lose weight. Your doctor can help you create a reasonable weight-loss plan.
News source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The content is edited for length and style purposes.
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