Ezetimibe lowers cholesterol. Ezetimibe should be used together with lifestyle changes such as diet, weight-loss, and exercise.
Ezetimibe is a prescription medication used to treat high cholesterol when diet and exercise alone are not enough. Ezetimibe belongs to a group of drugs called cholesterol absorption inhibitors which block absorption of cholesterol from food in the digestive tract.
This medication comes in tablet form and is taken once daily, with or without food.
Common side effects include upper airway infection, diarrhea, and joint pains.
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Uses of Ezetimibe
Ezetimibe is a prescription medication used with diet and exercise to treat high cholesterol. It may be given with other cholesterol-lowering medications. Ezetimibe is also used to treat a rare genetic condition called sitosterolemia.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Ezetimibe Brand Names
Ezetimibe may be found in some form under the following brand names:
Ezetimibe Drug Class
Ezetimibe is part of the drug class:
Side Effects of Ezetimibe
- In clinical studies patients reported few side effects while taking ezetimibe. These included diarrhea, joint pains, upper airway infection, and feeling tired.
- Patients have experienced severe muscle problems while taking ezetimibe, usually when ezetimibe was added to a statin drug.
- If you experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness while taking ezetimibe, contact your doctor immediately.
- You need to do this promptly, because on rare occasions, these muscle problems can be serious, with muscle breakdown resulting in kidney damage.
Additionally, the following side effects have been reported in general use:
- allergic reactions (which may require treatment right away) including swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing,
- rash, and hives
- raised red rash, sometimes with target-shaped lesions
- joint pain
- muscle aches
- alterations in some laboratory blood tests
- liver problems
- stomach pain
- inflammation of the pancreas
- tingling sensation
- inflammation of the gallbladder
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
- gemfibrozil (Lopid)
- fenofibrate (Tricor, Fibricor)
- cholestyramine (Questran, WellChol, Colestid)
- warfarin (Coumadin)
This is not a complete list of ezetimibe drug interactions. Ask your doctor for more information.
- Do not take ezetimibe if you are allergic to any ingredient in it.
- If you have active liver disease, do not take ezetimibe while taking cholesterol-lowering medicines called statins.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not take ezetimibe while taking a statin.
- If you are a woman of childbearing age, you should use an effective method of birth control to prevent pregnancy while using ezetimibe added to statin therapy.
- Ezetimibe has not been studied in children under age 10.
Ezetimibe Food Interactions
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of ezetimibe there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.
- Tell your doctor about any prescription and non-prescription medicines you are taking or plan to take, including natural or herbal remedies.
- Tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions including allergies.
Tell your doctor if you:
- have ever had liver problems
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
- experience unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness
Ezetimibe and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
Ezetimibe falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans, though. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.
Ezetimibe and Lactation
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
It is not known if ezetimibe crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using ezetimibe.
- Take ezetimibe once a day, with or without food. It may be easier to remember to take your dose if you do it at the same time every day, such as with breakfast, dinner, or at bedtime. If you also take another medicine to reduce your cholesterol, ask your doctor if you can take them at the same time.
- If you forget to take ezetimibe, take it as soon as you remember. However, do not take more than one dose of ezetimibe a day.
- Continue to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet while taking ezetimibe.
- Keep taking ezetimibe unless your doctor tells you to stop. It is important that you keep taking ezetimibe even if you do not feel sick.
- See your doctor regularly to check your cholesterol level and to check for side effects. Your doctor may do blood tests to check your liver before you start taking ezetimibe with a statin and during treatment.
Take ezetimibe exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
The recommended dose of ezetimibe is 10 mg once daily, with or without food.
If you take too much ezetimibe, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
- Store ezetimibe at room temperature in the container it came in, tightly closed.
- Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.