How to lower cholesterol fast – best cholesterol drugs names

There are several classes of cholesterol medications:

  • Statins (Lipitor, Crestor, Simvastatin)
  • Fibrates (Fenofibrate)
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors(Zetia)
  • Bile acid sequestrants(Colestipol)
  • Niacin(Niaspan)
  • Omega-3
  • Various combinations of statins with other medications

What are statin drugs? How do statins work?

Statins are considered to be the most widely used and the best cholesterol medications. They work by reducing the production of cholesterol in a liver, thereby decreasing cholesterol levels in blood. Statins block the work of HMG-CoA reductase enzyme that is involved in cholesterol synthesis. These drugs actually reduce heart attacks rate and prolong lifetime, especially for people with a high risk of cardiovascular disorders. However, many people experience serious side effects during treatment with statins.

Your doctor may prescribe you cholesterol medication (statins) after the blood test for cholesterol in order to prevent cardiovascular system disorders.

The doctor should also explain that you have to take cholesterol pills constantly for a definite period of time. Another important thing to know, that all drugs without exception may have their possible side effects.

The information in this article does not call for self-administration of drugs or cancellation of statins, prescribed by your doctor. If you have any doubts or questions about how to take cholesterol medication, contact your healthcare provider and pass a comprehensive examination. Risks and benefits of taking the drugs should be evaluated by a doctor in each specific clinical case, taking into account possible chronic diseases and the state of the cardiovascular system.

The discovery of statins by a Japanese scientist Dr. Akira Endo was a real revolution in medicine in the past century. The research results, which lasted for 5 years, confirmed the decline of "bad" cholesterol levels in patients (35%) and the increase "good" cholesterol levels (8%). It was noted that the incidence of stroke decreased by 30%, myocardial infarction - 42%.

Statins are chemicals that reduce production of enzymes, that are required for cholesterol synthesis in a body. The main features of this class of cholesterol medications are:

  • Statins reduce the concentration of cholesterol in blood due to inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase, which reduces cholesterol synthesis in a liver.
  • Reduce cholesterol concentration in people with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which cannot be treated with lipid-lowering drugs.
  • Reduce total cholesterol by 30-45%, "bad" cholesterol - by 40-60%.
  • Improve concentration of HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) and apolipoprotein A.
  • Reduce risk of ischemic complications by 15%, including myocardial infarction and the risk of angina pectoris symptoms with myocardial ischemia - 25%.
  • Do not have mutagenic and carcinogenic effects.

Statins today are one of the most popular drugs to prevent cardiovascular system disorders, which is confirmed by statistics. There are a number of drugs with lipid-lowering properties on the market, but only statins manage to reduce the mortality rate of atherosclerosis and the risk of complications from the disease, increasing people's life.

Side effects of statin drugs

The use of statins drugs for lowering cholesterol may lead to the following side effects:

  • Very common: insomnia, asthenic syndrome, headache, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, flatulence, myalgia.

  • Nervous system: amnesia, malaise, dizziness, hypoesthesia, paresthesia, peripheral neuropathy.

  • Digestive system: vomiting, diarrhea, hepatitis, anorexia, jaundice, pancreatitis.

  • Musculoskeletal system: myositis, back pain, muscle cramps, myopathy, arthritis of the joints.

  • Allergic reactions: skin rash, hives, itchy skin, anaphylaxis, Lyell's syndrome, erythema multiforme.

  • Blood: thrombocytopenia.

  • Metabolism: diabetes or decrease in blood sugar levels.
  • Impotence, weight gain, obesity, peripheral edema.

Do I need to take statins to lower cholesterol?

Instructions and advertising of medicines for lowering cholesterol convince people that statins significantly improve the quality of life, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Numerous studies suggest that use of statins has almost no side effects and is effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes. "Take them constantly to decrease the level of bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol." Can you trust such claims?

In fact, treatment with statin medications remains a very controversial issue, especially for elderly people. To date, the opinion of medical specialists about statins is quite unambiguous:

  • One study confirms the need for statins in case of very high levels of cholesterol. Moreover, their intake may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • The other claims that side effects and potential harm to the health of an elderly person are not comparable with the possible use of such cardiovascular system disorders prophylaxis.

Based on the results of clinical trials conducted by various scientific and medical institutions, experts say the following: people can really benefit from statin drugs, but numerous side effects make you carefully weigh all pros and cons before taking this class of medication. After all, an artificially induced decrease of cholesterol entails various changes in a body.

The matter is that statins decrease the production of cholesterol precursor - mevalonate, which is a source of various substances that perform important biological functions in a body, the lack of which can lead to a number of diseases. Moreover, too low cholesterol is as harmful as the high level, and can lead to anemia, nervous system disorders, liver problems, and even cancer. Statins may cause myopathy and myalgia (muscle disease), and even muscular dystrophy. According to statistics, statins significantly increases the risk of cataract formation (by as much as 50%), accelerating the disease development by 5 times.

You should take statins in case of:

  • for secondary prevention after myocardial infarction or stroke;
  • for reconstructive heart and major blood vessels surgery (for example, coronary artery bypass grafting);
  • acute coronary syndrome or myocardial infarction;
  • coronary artery disease with a high risk of stroke or heart attack.

Questionable benefits of taking statins for people:

  • with low risk of cardiovascular system disorder;
  • women before menopause;
  • in case of diabetes mellitus

Indications and contraindications for using statins

Statins are primarily prescribed for the treatment of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Studies show significant health improvement for patients with a coronary heart disorder. Another controversy is the question of taking statins by elderly people and as a preventive measure.

Statins are can be prescribed in the following cases of diseases and health conditions:

  • homozygous hypercholesterolemia;
  • postinfarction state;
  • angina;
  • acute coronary syndrome;
  • condition after stenting, coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty;
  • condition after stroke;
  • hypertonic disease;
  • atherosclerotic vascular lesions;
  • dystonia;
  • cholesterol rates in the blood above normal;
  • metabolic syndrome and others.

Statins are contraindicated in case of the following diseases and health conditions:

  • abnormal liver function;
  • allergy;
  • endocrine disorders;
  • breast-feeding;
  • pregnancy, planning to become pregnant;
  • kidney disease;
  • thyroid disease;
  • idiosyncrasy and others.

Woman of childbearing age should comply with the mandatory contraception in case of taking statins. Take this class of cholesterol medications with caution in case of cataracts, or with initial symptoms of the disease. Children should take statins in exceptional cases relating to certain conditions of hereditary nature. Only your doctor can decide whether you need to take cholesterol-lowering drug or not.

You should have regular medical checks in order to avoid erroneous contraindications of statins for each individual patient. You should avoid taking alcohol and grapefruit juice, avoid intramuscular injections and abstain from physical activity on the eve of medical test in order for results to be more accurate.

How to choose statin drugs?

It is your individual decision to take statins or not, based on the advice of a doctor. If you choose to take statins, your physician should take into account your overall health condition and all chronic diseases.

Avoid taking any cholesterol-lowering drugs without consulting with your doctor. Make an appointment with a cardiologist or a physician in case of lipid metabolism disorders. Let them evaluate all possible risks, taking into account:

  • sex, age, weight;
  • bad habits;
  • cardiovascular diseases and adverse pathology (especially diabetes).

Take statin drugs strictly according to your prescription and have regular blood checks. If your doctor has prescribed you an expensive brand cholesterol medication, discuss a possibility of replacing it by a cheaper generic statin drug. You can buy generic cholesterol drugs online or in your local pharmacy.

Simultaneous intake of statins drugs for gout, hypertension, diabetes increases the risk of myopathy by 2 times in elderly people.

It is recommended to take low dosages of Rosuvastatin or Pravastatin (Pravachol) in case of chronic liver disorder. These two types of statins protect a liver. Avoid drinking alcohol and taking antibiotics with these drugs.

The use of Pravastatin is more appropriate in case of persistent muscles pain or the risk of muscle damage since it is less toxic to the muscles.

Avoid using Fluvastatin as well as Atorvastatin (Lipitor) in case of chronic kidney disorder, since they are highly toxic to the kidneys.

People who need to reduce the level of low-density cholesterol can take different types of statins, such as Atorvastatin or Rosuvastatin.

There is no conclusive data about the feasibility of combining statins with nicotinic acid. In addition, niacin can cause a drop of sugar in people with diabetes, provoke bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, cause acute gout and increase the risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis when it is taken together with statins.

The benefits of statins, diet and exercise

Lifestyle changes are undoubtedly the cornerstone of lowering cholesterol. Exercising, diet and weight loss can:

  • Reduce LDL by 5-10%
  • Reduce triglyceride levels by 10-30%.

However, this may not be enough for people with very high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. If your cholesterol levels are far from optimal numbers, reducing LPNN by 10% is not going to help much. Statins act quickly and help reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 50% or even more.Statins can also increase HDL levels by 15%.

According to medical specialists, if you lead a healthy lifestyle while taking statins, your cholesterol levels will decrease significantly within 2-4 weeks after starting treatment.

Statins are very simple drugs: you take them every day and they have a strong effect. They reduce not only cholesterol, but also the risks of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

A recent study showed that statins also reduce by a half the risk of heart disease in people with normal cholesterol levels, but with high levels of proteins, which are associated with an inflammation.

Fibrates drugs for lowering cholesterol

Fibrates is another class of drugs, which reduce blood cholesterol. Fibric acid reduce active cholesterol production by a liver. Fenofibrate is capable of reducing the lipid content in a body, leading to lower cholesterol.

According to clinical studies, fenofibrate lowers total cholesterol by 25% and triglycerides by 40-50%, and thus raises good cholesterol by 10-30%. The prescription label of fenofibrate and ciprofibrate indicate that their use helps to reduce extravascular deposits - tendon xanthomas, a reduction in triglycerides and cholesterol in patients with hypercholesterolemia.

However, the use of these drugs leads to a number of side effects. The most common side effects are various digestive disorders - dyspepsia, flatulence (bloating), vomiting or diarrhea.

Side effects of fenofibrate drugs

  • Digestive system: hepatitis, pancreatitis, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, gallstones
  • Musculoskeletal system: muscle weakness, diffuse myalgias, rhabdomyolysis, myositis, muscular cramps.
  • Cardiovascular system:venous thromboembolism, pulmonary embolism.
  • Nervous system: headaches, sexual dysfunction.
  • Allergic reactions: photosensitivity, skin itching, skin rash, urticaria.

In order to reduce the dosages of statins and therefore their side effects, statins are sometimes combined with fibrates.

Nicotinic acid

Nicotinic acid (niacin) is one of the vitamins of group B, which is contained in food. Your doctor may prescribe you medications that contain higher doses of niacin in case of increased low-density lipoprotein levels. Nicotinic acid blocks spontaneous lipolysis (ie the output of fat from the subcutaneous fat in the blood), thus decreasing LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol in blood. On the other hand, niacin inhibits cholesterol synthesis in a liver and has a vasodilating effect, which is essential for atherosclerotic changes.

It is noted that nicotinic acid drugs cause regression of cholesterol, and reduce blood sugar levels, which is important for people with high blood glucose levels.

Bile acid sequestrants

This group of drugs is able to bind bile acids in the intestine and remove them. Since bile acids are products of metabolism of cholesterol and fats, their withdrawal from a body leads to lower cholesterol and other fats in the blood. Keep in mind, that the bile acid sequestrants can have side effects such as constipation and other gastro-intestinal disorders.

Other medications

Your doctor may recommend you dietary supplements, such as Omega 3, lipoic acid, linseed oil, which can also decrease cholesterol levels.

Omega 3

Cardiologists strongly recommend people with high cholesterol levels to take Omega 3 pills, which provide protection against cardiovascular diseases and prevention of arthritis and depression. However, take Omega 3 with caution, because it increases the risk of chronic pancreatitis.

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin oil seeds supplements are recommended for people with atherosclerosis of brain vessels, hepatitis, cholecystitis. It has anti-inflammatory, choleretic, hepatoprotective, antioxidant effect.

Lipoic acid

Lipolic acid is used for prevention and treatment of coronary atherosclerosis, because it is an endogenous antioxidant, has a positive effect on carbohydrate metabolism, increases glycogen levels in liver, enhances neuronal tropism.


Vitamins also help maintain normal cholesterol levels, especially needed folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6, niacin - vitamin B3. However, it is recommended to take more natural vitamins, than synthetic. That is why it is recommended to increase the amount of foods rich in these vitamins.

What questions should I ask my doctor about medications for lowering cholesterol?

If you are concerned about why your doctor has prescribed your statins to lower cholesterol, ask the following questions:

  • Why do you think that I need this drug?
  • How does it affect my life and my body?
  • What are the benefits and risks of taking this medication for me?
  • Can statins interact with medications that I am taking? (Be sure to tell your doctor about all prescription and over the counter drugs and supplements you are taking. Some supplements may interfere statins.)
  • What is a long-term goal of this therapy?
  • Can I take supplements instead of statins for lowering cholesterol?
  • Can supplements interact with statins?