Approximately 100,870,000 Americans have total cholesterol levels greater than 200 milligrams. This puts them at a greater risk for developing coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among adults.
To combat the problem, 7% of patients are candidates for lipid-lowering medications like ezetimibe.
In combination with other medications like statins and a healthy lifestyle, ezetimibe can significantly lower LDL and reduce the risk of serious illnesses. There are potential side effects, drug interactions, and other issues to keep in mind, but it is a safe and effective drug overall.
Read our ezetimibe guide to understand what it is and how it can improve your health.
What Is Healthy Cholesterol?
It’s important to know what cholesterol is and how it’s measured to see how well the ezetimibe medication is working.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in every cell of the body. It’s essential to the creation of hormones, vitamin D, and other important substances.
If levels rise too high, plaque may form, clogging up and infringing with the functioning of essential organs like the heart. Extremely low cholesterol should be avoided as well, as it can cause mental health issues as well as physical problems.
The three measures are LDL or “bad” cholesterol, HDL or “good” cholesterol, and total cholesterol, a combination of the two. Proper testing should measure all three, as they each have a role to play in health.
Patients should have their cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years. The appropriate levels change over time based on age and weight.
For adults, total cholesterol should be less than 200 milligrams, LDL less than 100, and HDL at least 60. For children, total cholesterol above 170 is too high.
Lifestyle changes like low-cholesterol diets and increased exercise can keep levels down. These changes tend to only reduce LDL by up to 10%, so sometimes cholesterol medications are necessary.
What Is Ezetimibe?
Ezetimibe medication, also known as Ezetrol, is used to lower high cholesterol. They come in either tablets or capsules that are white and imprinted with the number 773.
Ezetimibe is classified as a cholesterol absorption inhibitor, blocking reabsorption in the small intestine. This leaves less for the liver to process, which leads to more LDL receptors and less LDL in the blood.
Ezetimibe works differently from statins, another common class of cholesterol-lowering drugs. It’s usually prescribed alongside them to help keep levels in the proper range.
Learn more about our available ezetimibe tablets here.
Ezetimibe is used in combination with statins and diet and exercise programs. It keeps cholesterol, especially “bad” LDL measures, within the appropriate ranges.
Cholesterol is so important to keep in check because of the health issues it puts patients at risk for when it gets too high. In addition to coronary heart disease, it also increases the likelihood of a stroke or heart attack.
Lifestyle changes can only do so much, and sometimes statins are not enough to regulate a patient’s levels. If these methods don’t work, a doctor may consider adding ezetimibe to the medication regimen.
How to Take Ezetimibe
Knowing how to take a new medication is one of the most important things to find out after it’s prescribed.
The typical ezetimibe dose is 10mg. It’s usually delivered in a single tablet or capsule.
Ezetimibe should be taken at the same time once a day, with or without food. Follow your doctor’s recommendations, as taking too much or too little can lead to adverse effects.
If you forget a dose, take it the moment you remember. The risk of overdose is low, but if you believe you may have taken too much, go to the local emergency room or call Poison Control immediately.
Potential Side Effects
Ezetimibe is a relatively safe medication but can cause issues even if taken correctly.
When not combined with any other medications, the most common side effects include stomach distress and pain, diarrhea, flatulence, and fatigue.
Other side effects include muscle and joint pain, stuffy nose, sinus pain, and sore throat.
Severe allergic reactions to ezetimibe are uncommon but possible. Look for signs such as rashes, itching, dizziness, or trouble breathing. Call the doctor the moment these symptoms show up.
Knowing the side effects is not enough to avoid potential issues from ezetimibe. There are foods and lifestyle choices that patients must avoid as well as other medications and conditions that will negatively interact with ezetimibe.
Ezetimibe should always be used in combination with proper diet and exercise. Avoid foods high in fat and cholesterol.
Certain medications should not be taken with ezetimibe. Don’t take it with gemfibrozil. If you also take cholestyramine, colestipol, or colesevelam, wait at least 2 hours before or 4 hours after taking these medications before taking ezetimibe.
Ezetimibe can also cause liver issues. It’s important to get your liver levels checked frequently. Don’t take ezetimibe if you’re diagnosed with active liver disease.
Other organs can sometimes be adversely affected by ezetimibe, including the kidneys and thyroid. Patients with problems like hypothyroidism or kidney disease may want to consider another medication option.
Don’t take ezetimibe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. It can harm the baby.
While ezetimibe is generally a safe and effective option, it’s not the best choice for every patient. Consult your doctor before deciding on cholesterol medication.
Where to Get Ezetimibe
Ezetimibe is a cholesterol-lowering drug meant to work alongside other prevention methods like diet, exercise, and statin medication. It’s an effective way to keep levels in check, preventing deadly diseases.
Before taking ezetimibe, patients should work with their doctor to develop a dosage schedule and ensure that the drug won’t interfere with anything they’re already taking. They should be aware of any potential side effects, know what to avoid while taking it, and call the doctor if any issues arise.
It’s also important to know where to get ezetimibe for the best price, as it’s one of the more expensive cholesterol-lowering options on the market today.