- What is ezetimibe, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for ezetimibe?
- Is ezetimibe available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for ezetimibe?
- What are the side effects of ezetimibe?
- What is the dosage for ezetimibe?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with ezetimibe?
- Is ezetimibe safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about ezetimibe?
What is ezetimibe, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
What are the side effects of ezetimibe?
The most common side effects of ezetimibe are:
Other important side effects include:
What is the dosage for ezetimibe?
The recommended dose of ezetimibe is 10 mg daily. Ezetimibe can be taken with or without food and at the same time as statin drugs.
Which drugs or supplements interact with ezetimibe?
Cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid) and colesevelam (WelChol), bile acid-binding drugs that may be used to treat elevated levels of cholesterol, bind to ezetimibe and reduce its absorption from the intestine by about 50%. Therefore, ezetimibe should be taken at least two hours before or 4 hours after administration of these drugs. Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral) increases the levels of ezetimibe while ezetimibe increases levels of cyclosporine. Combining both drugs may increase side effects of either drug.
Is ezetimibe safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of ezetimibe in pregnant women. Therefore, physicians must weight the benefit of prescribing ezetimibe during pregnancy against potential but unknown risks.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Picture of Cholesterol
Cholesterol carried in particles of low density (LDL cholesterol) is referred to as the "bad" cholesterol because elevated levels...
Cholesterol Drugs: What to Expect With Heart Medication
When diet and exercise aren't enough, should you turn to drugs? Learn cholesterol basics, drug classes, and available drugs along...
Related Disease Conditions
Cholesterol (Lowering Your Cholesterol)
High cholesterol and triglyceride levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Getting your cholesterol and triglyceride...
Fatty Liver (NASH)
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NASH occurs due to the accumulation of abnormal amounts of fat within the liver. Fatty liver...
High Cholesterol: Frequently Asked Questions
Cholesterol occurs naturally in the body. High blood cholesterol levels increase a person's risk of developing heart disease,...
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- New Drug Could Help Those With Tough-to-Treat Cholesterol
- New Cholesterol Drug's High Price May Not Be Worth It: Study
- Are There Alternatives to Statins?
- Negative News on Statins Tied to Dropped Prescriptions
- FDA Approves Second Drug in New Class of Cholesterol-Lowering Medications
- FDA OKs First of New Class of Cholesterol Drugs
- FDA Advisers Recommend Approval of First of 2 New Cholesterol Drugs
- New Drug Class Slashes 'Bad' Cholesterol, Review Finds
- Cholesterol Drug Vytorin Linked to Reduced Heart Attack Risk
- Researchers Find Gene Mutation That May Protect Against Heart Disease
- New Drug May Help Lower 'Bad' Cholesterol Beyond Statins
- New Drug Lowers Cholesterol Beyond What Statins Can Do, Study Finds
- Merck Recalls Cholesterol Drug Liptruzet
- Health Highlights: March 7, 2012
- Health Highlights: March 6, 2012
- New Warnings on Cholesterol-Lowering Statins
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information