Cholesterol Treatment

Side Effects of Cholesterol Lowering Medicines

Cholesterol is absolutely bad for your health. Excess levels of it in the bloodstream can increase the risk of you developing coronary heart diseases at a relatively early stage of your life. In order to lower it down you can opt for life style changes and/or drugs. While the second choice might be easier to implement, there are numerous side-effects involved.

Side-effects of Some Popular Cholesterol Lowering Medications

Bile Acid Sequestrants:
By binding with cholesterol-containing bile acids found in the intestines and then passing them out through the rectum, these can reduce cholesterol by up to 20 percent. The presently available bile acid sequestrants are Colesevelam, Cholestyramine, and Colestipol. Though they are generally safe, there are some side-effects involved. They are as follows:

* Bloating
* Constipation
* Interference with the intake of other medicines at the same time
* Gas
* Nausea

Further, they are not to be taken as a sole medication if you have a history of constipation or have high levels of triglycerides.

Fibrates are another type of cholesterol-lowering drugs. A most widely sold type of fibrate drug is Gemfibrozil, which is most effective in lowering the levels of triglycerides by up to 50 per cent and enhancing the levels of HDL-Cholesterol by up to 15 per cent in the blood. While they are usually safe, some of their side-effects are as follows:

* Increased chances of development of cholesterol gallstones.
* Gastrointestinal problems.

Nicotinic Acids:
This is nothing but niacin or Vitamin-B . It is water soluble and when given above the recommended level it improves all lipoproteins. It increases the levels of HDL-Cholesterol by up to 35 percent while reducing the level of triglyceride by up to 50 percent and LDL-Cholesterol by up to 20 percent. While it is safe when consumed under prescribed limits, excess consumption creates the following side-effects:

* Activation of peptic ulcers
* Flushing, or the opening of blood vessels.
* Diarrhea
* High blood sugar
* Indigestion
* Gas
* Gout
* Liver problems
* Nausea
* Vomiting

Statins :
There are five statin drugs available in the market- atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin and simvastatin. According to studies, the drop in levels of LDL-Cholesterol attained is up to 60 per cent. Hence, they are effective in their task. While there are no serious side-effects to be observed, the following are common:

* Abdominal pain or cramps
* Brown urine
* Constipation
* Gas
* Muscle soreness, pain and weakness
* Upset stomach

How Can These Side Effects Be Avoided?
The best way to avoid these side-effects is to simply cease to depend upon drugs to lower cholesterol. Instead, it is best to alter your lifestyle (like eating healthy and working out). However, when it becomes unavoidable it is best to take these medications under close supervision of a physician. I would also recommend you to read a step by step guide to reduce cholesterol .