Although statins are the first-line treatment for individuals with high LDL cholesterol, familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), or high lipoprotein(a), also known as Lp(a), not all patients reach their LDL Safe Zone with statins.
In those cases, your healthcare provider may recommend the addition of ezetimibe (brand name Zetia). This medication is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor, and it works in the small intestines. It decreases the amount of cholesterol absorbed from your digestive tract. It also helps your liver more effectively remove LDL cholesterol from the blood.
Ezetimibe was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. It is commonly used with or without a statin and can reduce LDL cholesterol by 18 to 25% and have been shown to reduce cardiovascular events.
Who can take ezetimibe?
In general, ezetimibe may be prescribed to:
- People with high LDL cholesterol who are not at their recommended goal or in the Safe Zone
- People who can’t lower LDL cholesterol with statins alone
- People who do not tolerate statins
Before Taking Ezetimibe:
- Check for interactions with drugs you are already taking.
- Do not take ezetimibe during pregnancy or while nursing.