Statins are effective in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and are safe for most people. Rare side effects to watch for are liver and muscle problems.
Statins used for controlling cholesterol include the following:
- Fluvastatin (Lescol®)
- Lovastatin (Mevacor®, Altoprev®)
- Pravastatin (Pravachol®)
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor®)
- Rosuvastatin calcium (Crestor®)
- Simvastatin (Zocor®).
Bile Acid Sequestrants
Bile acid sequestrants help in lowering LDL cholesterol levels and are sometimes prescribed with statins. These cholesterol drugs are usually not prescribed as the only medicine to lower cholesterol.
Examples of bile acid sequestrants used for cholesterol control include:
Nicotinic acid (niacin) lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises HDL (good) cholesterol. These cholesterol medicines should only be used under a doctor's supervision.
Fibrates lower LDL somewhat, but are used mainly to treat high triglyceride and low HDL levels. When used with a statin, these cholesterol-lowering medications may increase the chance of muscle problems.
Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors
This type of cholesterol-lowering medicine lowers LDL and can be used alone or in combination with statin drugs. This cholesterol medication acts within the intestine to block cholesterol absorption.