Your Care Explained > Medications : Ezetimibe

Ezetimibe reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by lowering LDL, also known as “bad” cholesterol. It may also reduce triglycerides and increase HDL, or “good” cholesterol, by a modest amount.

Although it isn’t as effective as statins in reducing LDLs, it’s a good alternative for women who can’t tolerate statins.

How Ezetimibe Works

Ezetimibe decreases the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. As less cholesterol becomes available in the blood, the liver also takes in more cholesterol, reducing blood levels further. It is also available as Vytorin®, in which it is combined with simvastatin, a statin drug.

Taking Ezetimibe

Ezetimibe comes as a 10 mg tablet that is taken once a day with or without food. It is associated with minor gastrointestinal side effects.

Special Considerations

A study released in 2008 reported that Vytorin® was connected with an increase in cancer deaths. The connection is controversial and is being investigated further. Ezetimibe alone hasn’t been linked with cancer. If you’re taking Vytorin®, you may want to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

Date Last Modified: January 21, 2011

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