Cholesterol Treatment

Cholesterol Lowering Medications

At times the right diet and regular exercise may not bring your cholesterol level in check. In such situations the need for medications becomes more than important. Here are some of the common cholesterol lowering medications that help you keep your cholesterol levels in control.

Statins: The liver secretes an enzyme that is responsible for the formation of cholesterol. Statins such as simvastatin and atorvastatin, block this enzyme and thus help control your cholesterol. These statins work wonders in lowering down your cholesterol level and can bring it as low as 4 mmol/l. Your LDL is also reduced to less than 2 mmol/l.

Statins are used as a first line of medication for lowering cholesterol. By bringing a significant decrease in your cholesterol level, they minimize the risk heart attacks and strokes. However, this medicine can have certain side effects like constipation, diarrhea and even abdominal pain.

Generic names of statins are: Atorvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin, fluvastatin and rosuvastatin.
Popular brands of statins are: Crestor, Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor, Pravachol and Zocor.

Aspirin: This medicine should only be taken with your age and other factors into due consideration. This medicine can help prevent the formation of blood clots and consecutively keep your cholesterol in check.

Niacin: By essence, Niacin is a B vitamin and is found naturally in various foods. Taken as a medicine, it can help lower your LDL level and increase your HDL. The consumption of this medicine too can lead to certain side effects with a hot flush effect being the most common one along with others like tingling skin, itching, and headaches.
Popular brands of Niacin are: Niacor, Niaspan and Nicolar.

Other medications: In some cases other medicines such as cholesterol absorption inhibitors and bile acid sequestrants can also help reduce cholesterol. However they may not be as effective as their other counterparts. They mainly work on how your body reduces cholesterol. Both cholesterol absorption inhibitors and bile acid sequestrants decrease LDL and triglycerides and slightly increase HDL.

The common side effects with the bile acid sequestrants are constipation, nausea, bloating, gas and increased triglycerides in some case. While cholesterol absorption inhibitors may lead to stomach pain, fatigue and muscle cramps or soreness.

Available brand names of bile acid sequestrants: Questran, Colestid and Welchol.
Avaialble brand names of cholesterol absorption inhibitors: Zetia.

Some times your physician may prescribe you a combination of medicines to control your cholesterol levels. For example: if you have high triglycerides, besides high LDL, he may prescribe you fibrates, niacin, or a combination of niacin and statins.

Next, most of these medicines are well tolerated and have mild side effects as discussed above. But if you are regularly on medication periodic liver function tests would be regularly prescribed to check the effects of medicines on your liver.

Also, it is imperative that you talk to your doctor prior to the consumption of these medicines. All of these are prescription medications. Supplement these medicines with the right diet and the right exercise and your cholesterol shall be in check soon.