Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend cholesterol medication in addition to a diet low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and low in refined carbohydrates.

Cholesterol is an important part of your cells and also serves as the building block of some hormones. The liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs. But cholesterol also enters your body from dietary sources, such as animal-based foods like milk, eggs, and meat. Too much cholesterol in your blood can increase the risk of coronary artery disease.

The first line of treatment for abnormal cholesterol is usually to eat a diet low in saturated and trans fats, and high in fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and to increase exercise. But for some, these changes alone are not enough to lower blood cholesterol levels; they also may need medicine to bring down their cholesterol to a safe level.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs include:

  • Statins
  • Niacin
  • Bile-acid resins
  • Fibric acid derivatives
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors

Cholesterol-lowering medicine is most effective when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

How Do Statins Work?

Statins block the production of cholesterol in the liver itself. They lower LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, and triglycerides, and have a mild effect in raising HDL, the "good" cholesterol. These drugs are the first line of treatment for most people with high cholesterol. Statins have been shown in multiple research studies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks and death from heart disease. Side effects can include intestinal problems, liver damage, and muscle inflammation.

Statins also carry warnings that memory loss, mental confusion, high blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes are possible side effects. It's important to remember that statins may also interact with other medications you take.

Examples of statins include:



Heart Health Poll

How do you keep your heart healthy?

View Results

WebMD Video Series

Click here to wach video: LDL or HDL: What's the Difference?

Jonathan Sackner Bernstein, MD, talks about the different types of cholesterol and how they affect your health.

Click here to watch video: LDL or HDL: What's the Difference?