Substitutes for Statins

In general, treatment for high cholesterol begins with lifestyle changes (weight loss, exercise, and a low-cholesterol diet). However, if lifestyle changes alone do not lower cholesterol to a desirable level, medication such as statins may be necessary. Although statins can be effective in cholesterol treatment, for some people, they do not work or may cause side effects. Fortunately, several alternatives are available. Some of these statin substitutes include:
  • Bile acid sequestrants
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • Niacin
  • Fibrates
  • Combination medicines.
Several natural products (including some foods) and dietary supplements are claimed to promote healthy cholesterol. Such products include:
  • Acacia
  • Alfalfa
  • Aloe
  • Artichoke
  • Avocado
  • Chitosan
  • Cod liver oil.
If statins are not working for you or if they are causing bothersome side effects, ask your healthcare provider about trying a statin substitute.
(Click Alternatives to Statins for a more in-depth look at possible substitutes for statins, such as other medications or natural supplements. This article also explains when it may be time to consider a substitute.)
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