While diet and exercise remain the major checks on high cholesterol levels, cholesterol lowering medication is prescribed in many cases, usually in combination with dieting and physical activity. Cholesterol in blood is in the form of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides. The goal of using cholesterol lowering medication is to reduce the concentration of LDL, since it is the most harmful of cholesterol types; also to decrease triglycerides, and to maintain or increase HDL as it works to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Cholesterol Lowering Drugs
Several drugs are, in common practice, used as cholesterol lowering medication. Some important names among these are fibrates, statins, nicotinic acid, and bile acid sequestrants. In lowering up your cholesterol, it actually helps your diet in losing weight and exercise is another key in burning fats.
Fibrates act effectively by lowering the level of triglycerides and, to some degree, boosting HDL level. However, these drugs are not targeted at lowering the concentration of LDL. Studies reveal that most of the fibrates-users with heart diseases face a lower risk of heart attack. Gemfibrozil is the best known fibrate in the US.
Dosage of fibrates includes two doses daily. Fibrates do not have many side effects, though some gastric and intestinal problems have been reported. Further, fibrates can intensify the action of medicines that work by thinning the blood (prescribed mostly for high blood pressure).
Statins are the most effective type of cholesterol lowering medication when it comes to lowering the LDL in blood. Hence, these are the drugs most often prescribed to patients of cardiovascular diseases who suffer severe heart problems. Statins slow down the production of cholesterol and help the liver more efficiently remove the LDL present in the blood.
What makes them ideal for treating patients is the fact that statins also bring down the concentration of triglycerides and in addition boost the HDL in blood. Important statins include lovastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, fluvastatin, and atorvastatin. Statins are administered one dose daily, preferably in the evening. Except minor digestive disorders, statins have no serious adverse effects.
Cholesterol medication, classified as a statin drug, has been medically proven to lower the levels of cholesterol. However, with any medication, you should discuss this option with your physician as there are particular side effects associated with this cholesterol medication.
This particular category of cholesterol-lowering drugs combines with the bile that is secreted by the gallbladder and liver and works within the intestinal tract. This combination of the statin medication, along with the bile, softens the ingested fatty food substance, which allows for that food to be absorbed.
Side effects could include muscle aches and if these symptoms develop you should contact your physician.
The principal constituent of nicotinic acid is niacin, a type of vitamin B, which reduces triglycerides and LDL while boosting HDL part of the cholesterol. This makes it an effective cholesterol lowering medication. In addition, it is a relatively inexpensive drug, usually available without a physicians prescription. However, it is not at all wise to use it since it carries side effects (hot flashes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea etc.). It also tends to increase blood sugar and therefore is not suggested to be used by diabetics.
Bile Acid Sequestrants
Bile acid sequestrants act by lowering LDL up to 20 %. These can be used in combination with a stain (if prescribed). Main types of bile acid sequestrants prescribed are cholestyramine, colestipol, and colesevelam. Intake of these drugs includes mixing with water or fruit juice and taken once or twice daily. Bile acid sequestrants might interfere with the proper absorption of other medicines being used.