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Cholesterol Drugs

A healthy lifestyle is the first defense against high cholesterol. When lifestyle changes are not able to bring down cholesterol levels then medications are prescribed. Cholesterol medications may help:

  • Decreases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol.
  • Decreases triglycerides
  • Increase your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol

Different kinds of medication used to reduce cholesterol levels are:

  • Statins: Statins is a group of drugs that is used to lower the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. Excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream is accumulated in arteries, like the coronary arteries of the heart, the arteries to the brain, and the arteries carrying blood to the legs. Cholesterol hardens and sticks to the artery walls, causing them to narrow and resulting in a condition called atherosclerosis. Statins reduce cholesterol by inhibiting a liver enzyme called HMG Co-A reductase, in-turn reducing the liver's ability to make cholesterol. Statins lowers LDL "bad" cholesterol levels significantly, it also reduces triglyceride levels, and increases levels of HDL "good" cholesterol making it perfect drug in controlling cholesterol levels in the blood. The benefits of Statins are:
    • Improve blood cholesterol levels
    • Reduces the size of plaques in the arteries.
    • It stabilizes plaques making them less likely to rupture.
    • Reduces inflammation
    • Decreases blood clot formation.
  • Nicotinic Acid: It is a B-complex vitamin usually found in food. It helps in lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol. The main side effects are itching, flushing and headache.
  • Bile Acid Resins: These drugs work inside the intestine by binding to bile from the liver and preventing it from being reabsorbed into the circulatory system. These drugs deplete the body's supply of cholesterol as bile is made largely from cholesterol. The most common side effects are constipation or upset stomach.
  • Fibrates: They reduce the production of triglycerides and increases HDL cholesterol.

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