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High Cholesterol (cont.)

Medications

Statins are the medicines used the most often to treat high cholesterol, and they often work the best. They can reduce the risk for heart attack, stroke, and early death in people who are at high risk for a heart attack or stroke. Other medicines also lower cholesterol, and some may be used to lower triglycerides or raise HDL.

Doctors may also prescribe aspirin therapy if you have had a heart attack or a stroke, or you have a high risk for heart attack or stroke.

Do you need to take medicine? That depends. The decision to use medicine to treat high cholesterol is usually based on your cholesterol goal, LDL level, and your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Medicine is always used along with a diet and exercise plan, not instead of it.

You and your doctor will decide if you will take medicine for high cholesterol.

For more information, see:

Click here to view a Decision Point.High Cholesterol: Should I Take Statins?

Photo of a man

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 him keep his cholesterol low.

Medication Choices

The following medicines can be used to lower LDL and triglyceride levels in the blood and to raise HDL.

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. High cholesterol doesn't make you feel sick. But it's important to treat it, because it damages your blood vessels and eventually your heart, even though you don't have symptoms.

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 medicine or a different dose.

For more information, see:

Be sure to tell your doctor everything you take for high cholesterol, even herbs or other supplements or treatments. Sometimes they can interact with other medicines and cause problems.

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

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