Simple cholesterol guidelines or home remedies are enough to control cholesterol. If your cholesterol level is not controlled and having major heart disease or you have familial hypercholesterolemia, then you may need cholesterol-lowering drugs.
What are cholesterol-lowering medicines?
These are the class of drugs that lower the cholesterol level in the blood.
How can you support cholesterol medication treatment? Even if your doctor prescribes a cholesterol-reducing drug, this alone cannot do any magic, and you need to help it work better. Along with your cholesterol-lowering medication, you should still need to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet, be physical active to lower cholesterol, try to lose weight to lower cholesterol (if overweight), quit smoking (if you are a smoker), and control (or stop) all other risk factors for heart disease (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking).
Following all these can help you to lessen the dose of cholesterol medication or make the medication work more effectively. Additionally, it can lessen the risks associated with high cholesterol.
A cardiovascular patient is on a statin, can he/she stop taking it once blood cholesterol level drops to the recommended range? No cholesterol-lowering medicines can control high blood cholesterol, but they cannot cure. Thus, you must continue taking it to maintain your cholesterol level in the recommended range. Otherwise, your cholesterol level will again shoot up.
What can you expect from a Cholesterol lowering medication?
- Cholesterol medicine lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol that is once considered to increases your heart disease risks. But latest study shows there are two type LDLs; small dense LDL particle (bad) and big fluffy LDL particle (good).
- Cholesterol drug lower triglycerides; high triglycerides increase the heart disease risks.
- Cholesterol medication can increase your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the so-called good cholesterol that is once considered to help reverse cholesterol transport and protect you from heart disease. But latest study shows; low levels of large HDL and high levels of small HDL is bad and high levels of large HDL & low levels of small HDL is good.
What are the types of Cholesterol Medication drugs?
There are five major classes of cholesterol-lowering medicines, they are:
- Statins - It can help lower the LDL cholesterol by reducing its production inside the liver. It is the most widely prescribed drugs of all times. Pharma claims, people who are taking statins experience no or very few side effects. However, many actual users feel statin side effects outweigh its benefits.
- Bile acid sequestrants - It binds to the intestinal bile acids and prevents its reabsorbed. The liver needs to produces more bile by consuming cholesterol, thus lower cholesterol specifically LDL-C. These medicines usually prescribed along with other cholesterol-lowering medicine e.g. Statins.
- Nicotinic acid - It is the common form of the B-vitamin niacin (vitamin B3). It reduces the production of triglycerides and VLDL. It leads to decreased LDL cholesterol, increased HDL cholesterol, and lowered triglycerides. You should take this medicine only with a doctor’s supervision.
- Fibrates - It reduces the liver's VLDL production and speeds up the removal of triglycerides from the blood. This drug lower blood triglyceride level. When used with statins, fibrates may increase the risk of muscle problems.
- Cholesterol absorption inhibitors - It works by blocking the small intestine from absorbing cholesterol. It does not affect the triglycerides or fat-soluble vitamins absorption.
Do your need Cholesterol lowering medication?
For most people, the answer is no. However, if you have familial hyperlipidemia or any cardiovascular condition, then you should take cholesterol medication to maintain recommended cholesterol range.
Most people do not need cholesterol medication; below example explain why?
The common cold is an infection caused by a microbe such as fungi, bacteria or virus. During the cold, there is excess mucus secretion, running nose, and nasal congestion. Excess mucus secretion is to protect against infectious agents such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Thus, the proper treatment for cold is not to stop mucus secretion; instead, to eradicate the infection.
Similarly, if there is any arterial inflammation, your body try to correct it by producing and releasing excess cholesterol into the bloodstream. However, if the inflammation is not stopped then excess cholesterol deposition for healing the inflammation might break down and cause an arterial block. Thus, the proper treatment should be to stop as well as heal the inflammation and not to suppress the cholesterol production. It will happen by its own.
Study shows lowering LDL-C and raising HDL-C is of no use
Lilly's CETP inhibitor evacetrapib discontinue development studies after it failed to reduce rates of major cardiovascular events.
The study participants who are taking this drug noted their LDL-C drops to an average 55 mg/dl from about 84 mg/dl. Additionally, their HDL-C raises to an average of 104 mg/dl from about 46 mg/dl. Still, 256 participants had heart attacks, and 92 patients had a stroke.
How can a drug that lower something associated with a heart risk, is not showing any benefit?
Evacetrapib reduced so-called bad LDL-C by 37% and raised so called good HDL-C by 130%. Still, this drug failed to reduce cardiovascular events. What can you learn from this drug failure? Reducing LDL-C or raising HLD-C is of no use in preventing cardiovascular events. Thus, you should concentrate on something else; it might be LDL & HDL particle size.