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If you have high cholesterol, your healthcare provider may recommend medications for cholesterol treatment. The seven major types of medications for reducing cholesterol are statins, bile acid sequestrants, nicotinic acid, fibrates, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, microsomal triglyceride transfer protein inhibitors, and oligonucleotide inhibitors. Your doctor may combine medications to enhance your cholesterol lowering, reverse or slow the advance of atherosclerosis, and further decrease the chance of a heart attack or related death.

Cholesterol Medications: An Overview

Lifestyle changes are the first line of treatment for lowering cholesterol; however, for some people, treating high cholesterol with diet, weight control, and exercise is not enough. If lifestyle changes alone are not enough, your doctor can prescribe cholesterol medications.
 
Your healthcare provider will base his or her decision to prescribe medications on more than just the results of a cholesterol test. He or she will also look to see if you are at risk for heart disease from other problems.
 
(Click Heart Attack Risk to determine your 10-year risk.)
 
If your doctor does recommend medications for cholesterol, there are many options. The type of medication your doctor recommends will be based on many things, like your cholesterol levels and other medical conditions.
 
The seven major types of cholesterol medications are:
 
  • Statins
  • Bile acid sequestrants
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Fibrates
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein inhibitors
  • Oligonucleotide inhibitors (apo B-100 synthesis inhibitors).
 
Treatment with cholesterol medications controls but does not "cure" high cholesterol. Therefore, you must continue taking your medicine to keep your cholesterol level in the recommended range.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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