High Blood Cholesterol

Frequently Asked Questions

22. What are the major types of cholesterol-lowering medicines?

If TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) cannot lower your LDL cholesterol level enough by itself, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medicines. The following medicines are used together with TLC to help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol level.

  • statins
  • ezetimibe
  • bile acid sequestrants
  • nicotinic acid
  • fibrates.


  • are very effective in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • are safe for most people
  • have side effects that are infrequent, but potentially serious such as liver and muscle problems.


  • lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • may be used with statins or alone
  • acts within the intestine to block absorption of cholesterol.

Bile acid sequestrants

  • lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • are sometimes prescribed with statins
  • are not usually prescribed alone to lower cholesterol.

Nicotinic acid

  • lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, and raises HDL (good) cholesterol
  • should be used only under a doctor's supervision.


  • mainly lower triglycerides
  • may increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  • may increase the risk of muscle problems when used with a statin.