ezetimibe, Zetia

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GENERIC NAME: ezetimibe


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Ezetimibe is an oral drug that is used for the treatment of elevated blood cholesterol. The most commonly used class of drugs for lowering cholesterol levels, the statins, act by preventing the production of cholesterol by the liver. Ezetimibe has a different mechanism of action and lowers blood cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine. It does not affect the absorption of triglycerides or fat-soluble vitamins. The FDA approved ezetimibe in October 2002.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Ezetimibe is used alone or in combination with statins to improve levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B. Combining ezetimibe with a statin is more effective than either drug alone. Ezetimibe may be used alone or in combination with fibrates, for example, fenofibrate (Tricor), to improve levels of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B.

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of ezetimibe are:

Hypersensitivity reactions, including angioedema (swelling of the skin and underlying tissues of the head and neck that can be life-threatening) and skin rash rarely occur.

Other important side effects include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/22/2015

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