Cholesterol Lowering Medications and Their Side Effects

Normally when a person hears the word cholesterol, that person tends to think that it relates to a substance that is harmful to the body. The term usually conjures up the vision of an obese individual with a high risk of coronary heart disease. Excess cholesterol does not necessarily mean you are over-weight, and slim people can suffer as well. It is important to understand this point and not ignore the signs because you feel you wouldn’t fit into this category.

To make it clear to everyone, there are in fact two kinds of cholesterol. The first kind is called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, and the second is the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol. When a person is diagnosed with heart ailments the goal should be to attain a low level of bad cholesterol and a high level of HDL. The LDL should be below 160 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) of blood. If a person has more than 160 mg/dl of blood then that person then falls into the high-risk category for heart attacks and strokes.

A person with a high risk of coronary heart disease needs to know his or her LDL cholesterol level. This is highly recommended so that the person can make the appropriate actions on how to protect their heart. They should also have regular consultations with their physician so that they know their status and what steps to take to return to good health. Their physician may even prescribe the following medications to lower their levels of LDL cholesterol.

Antilipemics / Cholesterol-Lowering Medications
There are many classifications of Antilipemics. There are some which can lower the level of LDL while there are others which can raise the level of HDL. Drugs like bile acid sequestrants, fibric acids, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, statins and nicotinic acids are classified under anti-lipemic. They can always consult with their doctor which medicine will best work for their condition. Almost all drugs have corresponding side effects, so they have to expect that these medicines will have at least one. If they believe that they may be experiencing side effects whilst taking their medication, they should not hesitate to tell their doctor straight away to avoid possible repercussions.

  • Cholestyramines (Questran), Colestipol (Colestid), Colesevelam (Welchol) are drugs classified as bile sequestering medication. These kinds of antilipemic lower the cholesterol levels by forming insoluble compounds with cholesterol-containing bile acids. These drugs will encourage the removal of cholesterol from the bloodstream. The possible side-effects of this group of drugs are constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Gemfibrizol and Fenofibrate are drugs classified under Fibric Acid Derivatives. These types of drugs reduce the formation of cholesterol. As a result, it will increase the secretion of sterol and lower lipoprotein and triglyceride combination.

Ezetimibe is the only drug classified under Selective Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors. This drug will reduce the absorption of cholesterol by the small intestine. This will result in the decrease of cholesterol at the hepatic stage and increase the cholesterol clearance from the bloodstream. Fatigue and stomach discomfort are possible side effects of this drug.

Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin, Pravastatin, Rosuvastatin and Simvastatin are drugs classified under Statins or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. These kinds of drugs slow down the movement of the enzymes which synthesize the cholesterol in the liver. The possible side effects are intestinal problems, muscle pain, and liver damage.

Drug-based versions of B-group vitamins, in the form of Niacor, Niaspan and Nicolar are drugs classified under the Nicotinic Acids. These drugs can lower cholesterol and at the same time the triglycerides while increasing the levels of HDL. These drugs are the best when it comes to increasing the good cholesterol. Flushes, headaches, tingling, and itchiness are all possible side effects.

The world’s medical authorities have decided that the use of drugs should be your first line of action to bring your cholesterol levels back into balance. If you think that the doctors have all the answers, then it is likely that you will end up with one of the above drugs. However, it is important that you realize the potential side-effects so that you will understand why you are experiencing these feelings, and can then decide if you wish to continue with the treatment, or try a natural approach to solving the problem.

Most sufferers of cholesterol problems have not been stricken with their condition, and their situation has arisen because of incorrect diet and lifestyle. It is therefore common sense that a change to a diet and lifestyle that has been clinically proven to rectify cholesterol problems is something to try at some point in your treatment.
– Jane Starr


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