Hearing from your doctor that you have high cholesterol can be scary news. Most people know that having high cholesterol can lead to heart disease and eventually a heart attack or stroke. While there are several methods that you can try to reduce your numbers, such as exercise and diet, many people look into the medication option available. What drugs are available to lower cholesterol, and which ones may be right for you?
First of all, this article is meant only as information. It is not meant to advise or give any direction. If you do have high cholesterol or think you do please discuss all available options and medications with your doctor.
There are three classes of prescription cholesterol drugs available. These four classes include:
1. Statins. These drugs are very common and most people have heard of statins, even if they do not have high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the reason why most people have heard of these drugs is because these may be becoming over prescribed.
The benefit of using statins is that these drugs are very effective and can lower cholesterol by up to 50-60%. This can drastically reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. There is even evidence that people who do not have high cholesterol can receive the benefit of a reduced risk of heart attack or stroke by taking statins.
The negative that you must consider when taking statins is that they have some serious side effects. Muscle breakdown can occur. This absolutely can lead to kidney failure, but at the very least can cause aches and pains.
2. Bile acid sequestrants. These drugs work by ridding the body of bile acids. This is good as bile acids are involved with the production of cholesterol. The less bile acid you have the less cholesterol you will have. Cholesterol levels can decrease by up to 20% with bile acid sequestrants.
The bad news regarding bile acid sequestrants is that they can cause some side effects. While not as serious as the side effects caused by statins, you may experience gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation, nausea, and gas. Other side effects include weight loss, headaches, and sore muscles.
3. Triglyceride inhibitors. Triglycerides are involved with the product of lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol through the blood. Triglyceride inhibitors prevent lipoproteins from being made. With fewer lipoproteins there will be a lower number of cholesterol in the blood.
These drugs can lower cholesterol by as much as 10-14%. The effectiveness of preventing heart attacks has not been proved. Also, diabetics can not take this medication as it raises blood sugar.
The overview of available prescription cholesterol drugs found here will provide you with a better understanding of what medication is available, how they all work, and what the benefits and alternatives are of each. Basically, with more benefits (higher reduction of cholesterol levels) you may face more serious side effects. Be sure to discuss all available drugs with your doctor so that you both can come to a decision on what action to take to help lower your cholesterol levels.