High Cholesterol - Medications

Some people need to take medicines to reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor may recommend that you take medicines called statins.

You and your doctor can work together to decide what treatment is best for you. Your doctor may recommend that you take statins if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Statins are always used along with a plan for a heart-healthy lifestyle, not instead of it.

For more information, see:

Statins: Should I Take Them?

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One Man's Story:

Tony, 57

"I don't mind taking a pill a day. As long as it's doing me some good. And I no longer have any doubts about that."-Tony

Read more about Tony and how medicine helps lower his risk.

Medicine choices

StatinsStatins can lower the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

Other medicines can improve cholesterol levels, but they have not been proven to lower the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Your doctor may recommend these medicines if there is a reason you can't take a statin. These medicines include bile acid sequestrants, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, fibric acid derivatives, and nicotinic acid (niacin).

Take your medicines properly

Some people find it hard to take their medicines properly. If you do take medicine, it is important to use it the right way.

Some people don't see why they should take medicines every day when they don't feel sick. Cholesterol doesn't make you feel sick. But it's important to take your statin medicine, because it can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Some side effects are more likely and may be worse when you use higher doses of statins. If you're having side effects, tell your doctor. You may be able to take a different statin.

For more information, see:

Be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medicines that you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, herbs, and supplements. Sometimes they can interact with other medicines and cause problems.

If you have trouble taking your medicine for any reason, talk to your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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