Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract normally absorbs cholesterol, which comes
from food in your diet and from bile made by your liver. Drugs in this category
block the absorption of cholesterol in your GI tract.
Cholesterol absorption inhibitors can be used alone or in combination with
statins. Ezetimibe (Zetia) is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor currently
on the market in the U.S. Like all cholesterol medications, it must be used
in addition to, not instead of, dietary changes. Ezetimibe reduces total and
LDL cholesterol levels by as much as 10 - 20%. When used in combination with
statins, a greater percentage of people are able to lower their cholesterol
and reach their treatment goals than when statins are used alone.
Ezetimibe cannot be used if you have liver disease, or if you are pregnant
Potential side effects include joint and back pain, abdominal pain, diarrhea,
fatigue, and cough.
Ezetimibe should not be taken with fibrates (another class of cholesterol
lowering medication). If you are also taking bile acid sequestrants to lower
your cholesterol, you should take that drug either 2 hours before or 4 hours
Review Date: 10/31/2006
Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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