Understanding Cholesterol: Diagnosis and Treatment
Getting High Cholesterol Under Control continued...
Bile acid binders. Also known as cholestyramine and colestipol, these may lower total and LDL cholesterol in some people. Side effects include bloating, gas, and constipation. If your cholesterol level can't be controlled by using medication, your doctor may try to combine a bile acid binder and a statin.
Fibric acid derivatives. Doctors occasionally prescribe these to raise HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels. They also mildly lower LDL.
Zetia (ezetimibe). This drug limits the amount of cholesterol the small intestine can absorb. People who take it also usually take a statin, which can result reduce cholesterol another 25%. Zetia is controversial, however, because of a lack of evidence that it lowers the risk of heart attack or death from heart disease.
LDL apheresis. This isn't a drug. It's a blood-cleansing procedure that may help with severe, genetic cholesterol disorders. Over several hours, blood is removed from the body, chemically cleansed of LDL cholesterol, and then returned to the body. Treatments every 2 to 3 weeks can cut average LDL cholesterol by 50% to 80%, but they’re costly in both time and money.