For Better Health
Askdocweb is about side effects
Search for
Online since 2002
Home star Site Map star Resources star Contact Us star Privacy Policy star Advertise
 

Cholesterol Meds

Medicines for High Cholesterol are suppose to help you but there are a few things that you should know before taking them.

Cholesterol is a kind of fat in your blood. Your body makes its own cholesterol but you also get it from the foods you eat like meat, potato chips, cookies, and eggs. Some people have too much cholesterol in their blood.

There are things you can do to lower your cholesterol. You can make changes to your diet and exercise at least 30 minutes most days. There are also medicines you can take to help lower your cholesterol.

Use this guide to help you talk to your doctor about how to best control your cholesterol. This guide lists the different kinds of medicines to control cholesterol. Ask your doctor to tell you about all of the risks and benefits of taking your cholesterol medicine.

Did you know?

  • High cholesterol can raise your chance of having heart attacks and heart disease.
  • Women over age 20 should have their cholesterol checked by a doctor.
  • Most people do not show any signs of having high cholesterol.
  • Sometimes cholesterol can build up in your heart and cause chest pains.
  • You can find out your cholesterol number by getting a simple blood test.
  • Your total cholesterol number should be under 200.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

Not all cholesterol in your blood is bad for you. There are three kinds of blood cholesterol that you should know about: HDL (good cholesterol), LDL, (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides.

Good Vs Bad  

Good Cholesterol Bad Cholesterol
What is it called?
HDL
LDL

What does it do to your heart?
Helps to keep the arteries from clogging up Protects against heart disease Builds up and blocks your arteriesHelps to cause heart disease

What should your cholesterol number be?

A good level is
60mg/dL or Higher
A good level is less
than 100mg/dL if you have high risk for heart disease. Less than 130mg/dL if you are otherwise healthy

Medicines to Control Cholesterol

There are different kinds of medicines to control cholesterol.

  • HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (also called Statins)
  • Bile Acid Sequestrants
  • Fibrates
  • Niacin
  • Combination Drugs
  • Other Cholesterol Drugs

There are many different medicines in each group. Here is some general information about the safety warnings and side effects for the different kinds of medicine to control cholesterol. Remember that this list is only some of the risks of taking these medicines. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about all of the risks of taking your medicine.

HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (Statins)

Brand Name Generic Name
Altoprev Lovastatin
Crestor Rosuvastatin
Lescol Fluvastatin
Lipitor Atorvastatin
Mevacor Lovastatin
Pravachol Pravastatin
Zocor Simvastatin

Statins: What You Should Know

Warnings

  • Do not use these medicines if you have liver disease.
  • Do not use these medicines if you are pregnant or nursing.
  • Use these medicines with caution if you are also taking Gemfibrozil, Amiodarone, Verapamil, or blood thinners (anticoagulants).
  • People who use some HIV medicines, birth control pills (oral contraceptives), Nefazodone, and niacin should talk to their doctor about the specific risks of using Statins.
  • Drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice everyday may affect these "Statin" medicines.

Common Side Effects

  • Gas
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach

Warning Signs

Call your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • Fever
  • Dark urine
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle weakness

Bile Acid Sequestrants

Brand Name Generic Name
Colestid Colestipol
LoCholest Cholestyramine
Prevalite Cholestyramine
Questran (oral powder) Cholestyramine
Welchol Colesevelam

Bile Acid Sequestrants: What You Should Know

Warnings

  • Do not use these drugs if you have problems with your liver or gallbladder.
  • People who have bleeding problems, heart disease, stomach ulcers, kidney disease, or an under-active thyroid should talk to their doctor about the risks of taking these medicines.
  • People who take Spironolactone should talk to their doctor before taking Colestipol (Colestid).

Common Side Effects

  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea

Warning Signs

Call your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Unusual bleeding from gums or rectum

Fibrates

Brand Name Generic Name
Lopid Gemfibrozil
Tricor Fenofibrate
Antara Fenofibrate
Triglide Fenofibrate

Fibrates: What You Should Know

Warnings

  • People with kidney problems, gallbladder disease, or liver disease should not use Lopid or Tricor.
  • Do not use these drugs if you are taking other medicines to control cholesterol (HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors also called "Statins").
  • Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctor about the risk of taking Lopid and Tricor.
  • People who take diabetes medicines or blood thinners (anticoagulants) should talk to their doctor about the risks of taking Lopid and Tricor.

Common Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Flushing (redness of the face or neck)

Warning Signs

Call your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice (skin or eyes look yellow)

Niacin

Brand Name Generic Name
Niaspan Niacin

Niacin: What You Should Know

Warnings

  • Do not use Niaspan if you have liver disease or if you are taking an immediate-release niacin pill.
  • Do not use Niaspan if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People who are taking aspirin, high blood pressure medicines, HMG CoA Reductase Inhibitors ("Statins"), or medicines to lower bile acid should talk to their doctor about the risks of taking Niacin (Niaspan).
  • People with kidney disease, peptic ulcer, diabetes, or chest pain should talk to their doctor about the risks of taking this drug.
  • People who have had a heart attack or gout should talk to their doctor about the risks of taking this drug.

Common Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Flushing (redness of the face or neck)

Warning Signs

Call your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Jaundice (skin or eyes look yellow)

Combination Drugs

Brand Name Generic Name
Vytorin Ezetimibe and Simvastatin
Advicor Niacin and Lovastatin

Combination Drugs: What You Should Know

Warnings

  • Do not take Vytorin or Advicor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not take Vytorin if you have liver disease.
  • People taking Gemfibrozil (Lopid), Fenofibrate (Tricor), high blood pressure medicines, Protease Inhibitors (medicines to treat HIV) or blood thinners (anticoagulants) should use caution when taking Vytorin or Advicor.
  • If you drink large amounts of grapefruit juice everyday, it may affect Advicor.

Common Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Flushing (redness of the face or neck)
  • Upset stomach

Warning Signs

Call your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • Dark urine
  • Stomach pain
  • Muscle pain, tenderness or weakness
  • Jaundice (skin or eyes look yellow)

Other Drugs

Brand Name Generic Name
Zetia Ezetimibe

Other Drugs: What You Should Know

Warnings

  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Zetia with another cholesterol medicine.
  • People who have liver disease should not take Zetia with another cholesterol medicine.
  • Use caution if you are taking blood thinners (anticoagulants).

Common Side Effects

  • Feeling tired
  • Stomach pain

Warning Signs

Call your doctor if you have any of these signs:

  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Swelling of the face or lips
  • Severe itching
For natural ways to lower your cholesterol click here.

 

This website is protected by copyright 2002-2012 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on cholesterol medications and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
Bottom of page