Tempted to Stop Taking Pills for Triglycerides?

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 12, 2012
From the WebMD Archives

"Studies show that about 50% of patients stop taking their [triglycerides-lowering] medicines after about a year," says Michael Miller, MD, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

That means 50% keep taking them -- make a choice to be one of them.

These meds lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. Don’t risk your health by stopping medicine without your doctor’s approval. If something is making you want to quit, think about how to fix the problem.

Reason for Quitting: Side effects such as stomach upset from fibrates or a sudden redness of the face, neck, or upper chest (called flushing) from niacin.
Solution: Ask your doctor if it’s possible to change the dose, switch your meds, or help you ease the side effects.

Reason for Quitting: Cost of the medicines.
Solution: Ask your doctor for a less expensive medicine and if there are programs that may help you cover the cost of the meds.

Reason for Quitting: Taking too many medicines at once.
Solution: It’s a good idea to let your doctor review all the medicines you take every year or when you add a new med. Keep them in their original containers and put them all in a bag that you take to your doctor’s with you. Ask if you’re not sure why you’re taking something and if there are any meds you no longer need.

Reason for Quitting: Your levels have dropped and you think, "I'm fine now. I don't need any more treatment."
Solution: These medicines are pretty effective at lowering triglycerides, especially when you pair them with diet and exercise. But don’t abandon them and your progress! Work with your doctor on a plan to help you maintain healthy levels and keep protecting your heart.

WebMD Feature



Michael Miller, MD, director, Center for Preventive Cardiology, University of Maryland Medical Center.

Mann, D. Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, August 2007.

Miller, M. Circulation, April 18, 2011

American Heart Association: "Triglycerides: Frequently Asked Questions."

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