Font Size
A
A
A
...
9
...

Hardening of the Arteries (cont.)

Medications

Medications used to lower blood cholesterol levels are broadly divided into five categories. For details of cholesterol-lowering medications, see Understanding Cholesterol-Lowering Medications.

  • Statins: Commonly used agents include atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), and rosuvastatin (Crestor). The statins inhibit an enzyme, which controls the rate of cholesterol production in the body. See Statins and Cholesterol. The pill is taken once a day and is usually started after a trial of diet and exercise has failed.
  • Bile acid sequestrants: Cholestyramine (Questran, Questran Light, Prevalite, LoCholest), colestipol (Colestid), and colesevelam (Welchol) are commonly prescribed bile acid sequestrants. These drugs bind with cholesterol-containing bile acids in the intestines, which are then excreted in the stool. Thus, they reduce the absorption of ingested cholesterol from the intestine. They may cause diarrhea and many patients do not tolerate them.
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: Ezetimibe (Zetia) selectively reduces the absorption of cholesterol. It is often combined with statins.
  • Nicotinic acid or niacin: A water-soluble B vitamin that significantly increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and reduces LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Flushing is the most common bothersome side effect.
  • Fibrates: Commonly prescribed fibrates include gemfibrozil (Lopid) and fenofibrate (Tricor). They are primarily effective in lowering triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels and, to a lesser extent, in increasing good cholesterol levels.
Medical Author:
Coauthor:
Medical Editor:

Must Read Articles Related to Hardening of the Arteries

Angina
Angina Pectoris Angina pectoris is a term to describe chest pain that occurs when the heart is not getting enough blood. There are two types of angina, stable (the most common)...learn more >>
Aortic Aneurysm
Aortic Aneurysm An aortic aneuyrsm is a medical emergency. Abnormal enlargement or buldging of the aorta becomes an aortic aneurysm when this area becoms weakened. Common cause...learn more >>
Chest Pain
Chest Pain Overview Chest pain has a variety of noncardiac and cardiac causes, some of which can be very serious. Signs and symptoms of chest pain may include burning, squeezing, o...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the Arteries):

Hardening of the Arteries - Treatment

What was the treatment for your hardening of the arteries?





Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Atherosclerosis »

Atherosclerosis is a disease of large and medium-sized muscular arteries and is characterized by endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation, and the buildup of lipids, cholesterol, calcium, and cellular debris within the intima of the vessel wall.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary