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Sometimes diet and exercise alone can’t protect you from the risks of high triglycerides. To lower them, your body needs an extra nudge in the form of medicine.

Your doctor will likely prescribe meds if you have: 

  • Very high triglycerides -- over 500 mg/dL
  • Both high triglycerides and high "bad" LDL cholesterol levels 

Your doctor will consider many factors when choosing the right medicine for you. For instance, are you taking other meds? What is your overall health?  

Your doctor will consider these main types of triglycerides meds:

  • Fibrates
  • Niaspan
  • Prescription-strength omega-3 fatty acids

Fibrates

In addition to lowering triglycerides, most fibrates also lower cholesterol as well as ApoB, a protein found in LDL "bad" cholesterol.

Medicine names:

  • Atromid-S (clofibrate)
  • Lipofen and Tricor (fenofibrate)
  • Fibricor and Trilipix (fenofibric acid)
  • Gemcor and Lopid (gemfibrozil)

You should not take fibrates if you have liver, kidney, or gallbladder disease.

Medicines that can interact: Before taking fibrates, be sure to tell your doctor about other supplements and meds you take, especially:

  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Oral diabetes medicines
  • Cholesterol-lowering meds including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Prandin (repaglinide), or Zocor (simvastatin)
  • Insulin

 

Niacin

This class of medicine reduces triglycerides and also improves cholesterol levels. Niacin lowers the amount of LDL cholesterol as well as ApoB. Plus, it increases the amount of HDL "good" cholesterol.

Medicine name: Niaspan (niacin)

You should not take niacin if you have:

  • An allergy to aspirin, niacin, or tartrazine (a yellow dye in some medicines and processed foods)
  • Any bleeding problems
  • Diabetes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Heart disease
  • Liver problems or jaundice
  • A stomach ulcer
  • Plan to have any type of surgery, including dental procedures

Medicines that can interact: Before you take niacin, be sure to tell your doctor if you:

  • Take supplements or meds such as blood thinners (anticoagulants), which includes Coumadin (warfarin).
  • Take insulin or oral diabetes meds (Niacin can increase blood sugar levels, so your doctor may need to change your dose.)
  • Drink large amounts of alcohol

Prescription-Strength Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This class of medicines lower levels of triglycerides and may increase HDL "good" cholesterol.