Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Cholesterol & Triglycerides Health Center

Font Size

Tips for Taking Cholesterol Medications

When you take medication to treat high cholesterol, you need to follow your health care provider’s directions carefully. If you do not take medications as prescribed, they may not work like they’re supposed to.

 

Recommended Related to Cholesterol Management

WebMD My Story: Living With High Cholesterol

In October 2009, no one would have thought I had heart disease. Then, as now, I was 5 feet 4 inches, 120 pounds, and eating really well. I was only 40 years old. I was at a restaurant and had the worst hot flash ever, plus terrible chest pressure. My doctor insisted I come in. After taking an EKG, she said, "You just had a heart attack." I was shocked and panicked. I didn't want to leave my two children without a mother. Even then, my doctors couldn't believe I had heart disease. But a heart catheterization,...

Read the WebMD My Story: Living With High Cholesterol article > >

Cholesterol Drug Tips

  • Take all drugs the way your health care provider tells you to.
  • Know why you are taking your medicine.
  • Take your medicine, at the same time every day. Do not stop taking it or change it without talking with your doctor first. Even if you feel good, keep taking it.
  • Have a routine for taking your medicine. Get a pillbox that is marked with the days of the week. Fill the pillbox at the start of each week to make it easier to remember.
  • Keep a medicine calendar. Make a note on the calendar every time you take a dose. List any changes your doctor makes to the medicines on your calendar.
  • Do not decrease how much you take to save money. You must take the full amount to get the full benefits. If cost is a problem, talk to your doctor about ways you can reduce your drug costs.
  • Do not take any over-the-counter drugs or herbal treatments unless you ask your doctor first. These can change how your cholesterol medicine works for you.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it’s almost time for the next dose. Ask your doctor what you should do in that case.
  • Fill your prescriptions before you run out. And ask your pharmacist any questions you have about your medicine. Let your doctor know if you have trouble getting to the pharmacy, have financial concerns, or have other problems that make it hard for you to get your prescriptions filled.
  • When traveling, keep your medicines with you so you can take them at the right time. On longer trips, take an extra week's supply along with copies of your prescriptions. That way you can get a a refill if you need to.
  • Before having surgery with anesthesia, including dental work, tell the doctor or dentist what medicines you take.
  • Some medicines may affect your heart rate. Ask your doctor if you need to check your heart rate and how often you should do it.
  • Ask your doctor if you should avoid alcohol. Alcohol can increase the side effects of some medicines. It can also interfere with how effective they are.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to simplify your medicine routine.
  • If you have trouble understanding your doctor or pharmacist, ask a friend or loved one to go with you and help you.
  • If you don't feel like your medicine is making a difference, tell  your doctor.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Is Your Cholesterol Level Heart Healthy?
What is your LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level?

Get the latest Cholesterol Management newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Desirable
0-199
Borderline
200-239
High
240+

Your level is currently

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal.

Congratulations! Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is borderline high. If your LDL goes higher, your total cholesterol level could become Borderline High. Consider reducing the amount of foods you eat with saturated fats and increasing physical activity. If you get more exercise, your level of "good" HDL cholesterol may increase, which could also help to keep your levels of LDL and total cholesterol in check.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL. The HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is in the Desirable range, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. This may mean that your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, is too low. It is best to have a high level of "good" HDL and a low level of "bad" LDL because the HDL helps keep your LDL level in check. Ask your doctor for your HDL level. If your HDL is low, increasing your physical activity can increase it, which may help reduce your LDL level.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High, but fortunately your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have other non-measured increases in LDL-like particles that can increase heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is Borderline High. But your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol is High, but your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is near optimal. This could mean you have a high level of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" HDL cholesterol, which protects against heart disease. Or you could have elevated secondary lipids, such as non-HDL particles that increase the risk of heart disease. Your LDL level also could be optimal if you are taking a statin medication. Please check with your doctor to get your complete lipid profile and see if you may need additional treatment. In the meantime, find more information on WebMD's Cholesterol Health Center.

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Borderline High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels!

Your total cholesterol level is High. Your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is High, too. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as statins. Following medication, dietary, and exercise instructions should result in improvements.

Your total cholesterol level is High, and your level of "bad" LDL cholesterol is Very High. Working to bring down your total cholesterol decreases your LDL cholesterol level. You can do this by exercising more and eating less food with saturated fats. Check food labels! If you are struggling to bring down your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe statins or other cholesterol-lowering medications.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

woman pulling supplements from shelf
Can they help lower yours?
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
What it can do for you.
 
woman exercising
14 practical tips.
chocolate glazed donut and avocado
What your levels mean.
 
Heart Foods Slideshow
Slideshow
Cholesterol Fact or Fiction
Quiz
 
Food & Fitness Planner
TOOL
Attractive salad
ARTICLE
 
Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
SLIDESHOW
worst sandwich slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
Fat Foods Fit Foods
SLIDESHOW
Bad Cholesterol
VIDEO
 

WebMD Special Sections