What are Cholesterol Medications with Least Side Effects?

When it comes to lowering cholesterol with medical intervention, there is a chance for this option to cause some side effects. But if you are looking for cholesterol medications that have least side effects or even ‘zero’ side effects, lifestyle approaches and heart-healthy diets are the best answer you should prioritize. These approaches are not only good in helping to lower your LDL (low density lipoprotein – commonly considered as ‘bad cholesterol) but also great for your entire health in long term. Unfortunately, the use of lifestyle approaches doesn’t always work. For this case, medical intervention is required.

Which one that comes with least side effects?

Two individuals with high cholesterol who take the same medication may experience different side effects. So, the answer of that question may vary from patient to patient.

Overall, you doctor clearly understands a kind of medical intervention that meets with your body needs. Therefore, for in-depth information and more advice about this issue, you can discuss with your doctor /healthcare provider!

Furthermore, while each medical intervention can have side effects, sometimes doctors can prescribe a combination of different medications which means may cause more side effects. But in general, the use of certain medication with prescription should provide more advantages than disadvantages /side effects that may occur during and after the treatment.

The following are some common cholesterol medications and their side effects.

Statins

They may be the most common choice of medication prescribed by doctors for most people with high cholesterol – they are also pretty common used for the first line of treatment when a high cholesterol problem requires medical intervention. When this option doesn’t work, then doctors can prescribe other medications to treat the problem.

The side effects that may occur include muscles tenderness (in very rare cases), liver damage, and problems of intestine – according to an article published in WebMD.

image_illustration13The effectiveness of statins has been confirmed by some studies. According to these studies, statins can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and heart attack because they can help decrease LDL and triglyceride (another kind of cholesterol that can be bad for the health of your heart).

But they also cause a mild effect to the level of HDL (high density lipoprotein or often called as ‘good cholesterol’). How do they work? In general, they decrease LDL level by blocking and inhibiting the production of cholesterol in the liver.

You should not use statins without recommendation from your doctor because they may interact with certain medications that you are taking.

Furthermore, some studies found that the use of statins may also cause raised blood sugar, mental confusion, or memory loss. Examples of statins that are commonly prescribed by doctors include Crestor (Rosuvastatin), Pravachol (Pravastatin), Lescol (Fluvastatin), Zocor (Simvastatin), and Lipitor (Atorvastatin).

Bile-acid resins

They can bind to bile that comes from the liver, and this can help prevent bile from being reabsorbed into the system (cardiovascular system).

If bile can be prevented to be reabsorbed in your cardiovascular system, it can help decrease the chance of your LDL to rise.

Bile that comes from the liver is made largely from cholesterol. This means that you can deplete your body’s supply of cholesterol when the reabsorbing mechanism of your bile can be eliminated.

Since bile-acid resins work inside the intestine, the most common possible side effects that occur are problems associated with digestive system such as upset stomach, bloating /gas, and constipation.

WelChol, Colestid, Questran and Questran Light are some prescribed medicines categorized into bile-acid resins.

Nicotinic Acid

Basically, it is a kind of B-complex vitamin and therefore you can find it naturally in certain foods. But it is now also available in the tablet /capsule form (at high doses by prescription).

It is not only intended to help lower LDL but also to help boost HDL. Niaspan and Nicolar are some examples of this medication. And for side effects – these may include headache, itching, and tingling.

Inhibitors for cholesterol absorption

As the name suggests, these inhibitors are intended to help prevent the cholesterol absorption into the cardiovascular system. Zetia is one of the common choices for this kind of medication.

It can help lower LDL by restricting and preventing the absorption of dietary cholesterol. It can be used with statins. And for the side effects that may occur include digestive problems, stomach pain, and muscles pain.

What is the conclusion?

Overall, the tolerance of each cholesterol medication can vary from person to person. And you doctor can give the best advice for which one or a combination of different medications that meet to your body needs.

Since each medication can be potential to cause side effects, your doctor usually will ask and learn your personal medical history before making a prescription. If necessary, she /he may also recommend you to take a test to analyze the function of your liver.

*For in-depth information about the side effects of cholesterol medications, consult more with a doctor!

Lifestyle approaches is the best choice in long term

Again, medical interventions mentioned before are commonly used to treat high cholesterol when the problem doesn’t respond with lifestyle approaches. These options can be also required when doctor think that your cholesterol too high and should be lowered immediately.

Since these options can cause side effects, they are not commonly prescribed to be used in long term – unless if you have certain health conditions and your doctor believe that the advantages of taking certain medical intervention in long term are greater than the potential of side effects that may occur.

Your doctor should have a strong medical reason when he or she recommends you to take a cholesterol medication in long term.

Weight control

We all agree that it’s very important to get and stay at your best shape and weight. It’s not only about your physical appearance – but the most important thing is to improve your overall health, including for lowering your risk of high cholesterol.

In general, there are two crucial things you need to concern to lose weight; boost your physical activity and appropriately cut your calories intake. If you are being overweight, visit here for more detailed information on how weight loss can help lower your LDL!

Do exercise regularly!

Lack of physical activity can increase the risk of raised LDL. In fact, regular exercise is also crucial for your weight control. Learn more on how exercise help boost the level of your HDL in this section!

Appropriate dietary approaches

There are many foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol that can trigger your LDL to rise. But fortunately, you also have plenty options of healthy foods that can help boost your HDL and lower your LDL.

Here is a completely guide on how to lower LDL with dietary approaches.

How about with lowering-cholesterol supplements? Which one that works?

While most cases of high cholesterol treatment often involve lifestyle approaches, there are also available some supplements that may help. Some of these supplements (according to the Cleveland Clinic Department of Nutrition) include:

  1. Policosanol. It can be extracted from beeswax or produced from sugar cane. According some studies, it may be pretty helpful to lower LDL. But unfortunately, there is still no strong scientific evidence to confirm this issue.
  2. Red yeast rice. If you want to use it, make sure to choose a red yeast rice-containing product that is free from lovastatin (a substance that can be found in the Mevacor). Like policosanol, the effectiveness of red-yeast-rice supplement is also still debatable.
  3. Guggulipid! According to a clinical study in India, guggulipid provide a significant reduction of cholesterol in the bloodstream. What is it? It is the gum resin – derived from the mukul myrrh tree. But according to a US clinical trial, the effectiveness of guggulipid is also still debatable, especially for the issue of its efficacy & safety.
  4. Other supplements that may help lower LDL are garlic, artichoke leaf extract, fenugreek leaves, and fenugreek seeds – however again, the effectiveness of these supplements is not yet scientifically confirmed.

Since most of those supplements are still not scientifically proved, make sure you talk with your healthcare provider /doctor before taking them for your treatment and therapy in order to keep safe!