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Cholesterol & Triglycerides Health Center

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Manage Side Effects of Triglyceride Medicines

You’ve taken a big step to protect your heart by taking medicine. But triglyceride meds can have side effects. Don’t let them take you off course.  

Fibrates: Lipofen & Tricor (fenofibrate), Fibricor & Trilipix (fenofibric acid), and Lopid (gemfibrozil)

Tell your doctor if you have symptoms that bother you or don’t go away. Common side effects include:

  • Back pain
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Gas or bloating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Mild stomach pain

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these more severe symptoms:

  • Chest pain or irregular heartbeat
  • Dark-colored urine, pain or burning when you urinate, or decreased urination
  • Muscle aches, cramps, pain, or weakness
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)

 

Niaspan (niacin)

Never switch the type of niacin you take without talking to your doctor.

Tell your doctor if you have symptoms that bother you or don’t go away. Common side effects include:

  • Cough
  • Flushing
  • Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Rash or itching skin

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these more severe symptoms:

  • Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or faintness (If symptoms wake you at night, get up slowly so you don’t faint.)
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling
  • Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice)

If your face or neck turns red, itches, tingles, or feels warm:

  • Avoid alcohol or hot drinks when you take your niacin pill.
  • Take aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory med 30 minutes before you take niacin.

Flushing of the face usually goes away after you take the medicine for a few weeks.

Prescription omega-3 fatty acids: Epanova (omega-3-carboxylic acids), Lovaza (omega-3 acid ethyl esters), and Vascepa (icosapent ethyl)

Tell your doctor if you have symptoms that bother you or don’t go away. Common side effects include:

  • Burping
  • Joint pain  
  • Strange taste in your mouth
  • Upset stomach

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these more severe symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Fever, chills, body aches, or flu symptoms
  • Irregular heartbeat

 

Stay on Course

Treatment for triglycerides is a lifelong commitment, not a quick fix.

When you reinforce your treatment with diet and exercise, medicine can lower triglycerides within a couple of days. Yet your levels can spike again if you don't stick with your plan.

If you have side effects, your first thought might be to stop the medicine. Don't listen to that instinct. Always talk to your doctor before you give up on any med.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 12, 2012

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Is Your Cholesterol Level Heart Healthy?
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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.

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