What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty chemical, known as lipid. It is carried through blood supply to all parts of the body in the form of particles called lipoproteins.
Our body cells make some cholesterol that is required for normal functioning, for e.g. making hormones and vitamin D. Additionally, cholesterol is also present in many food we eat for e.g. egg yolk, fatty part of the meat and cheese & butter. Some people have genes that cause them to make more cholesterol than required. Required level of cholesterol is good for our body but too much cholesterol can deposit in the arteries called plaques. Overtime, these plaques restrict the blood flow in the arteries resulting in heart diseases and stroke.
There are two main types of lipoproteins that contain cholesterol.
High density lipoproteins (HDL): HDL brings the cholesterol from cells back to liver. The liver helps in removing the cholesterol from the body. HDL helps in preventing plaque formation and therefore are considered as good cholesterol.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL): LDL carries the cholesterol to the cells and when there is too much LDL, it starts to deposit in arteries which can lead to plaque formation and eventually heart disease and stroke. LDL is much more in quantity than HDL. High level of LDL encourages plaque formation. LDL is therefore considered as bad cholesterol.
Triglycerides are one other form of fats present in our bodies. They are used to produce energy.
What is this medication used for?
Lipid-lowering agents are drugs, which are prescribed by doctors when diet and exercise do not reduce cholesterol alone. These medications are used to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering the cholesterol levels within the normal range. It is also used in patients who have existing heart disease or stroke. Reducing fatty substance in the blood is very important to prevent heart disease and stroke. The accumulation of fatty substances (called atherosclerosis) in the arteries can block the arteries and thus hinder the normal flow of blood to heart, brain and other parts of the body.
These medication should be used with low-fat diet and regular exercise to obtain the full benefits. There are many different types of medicines that are used to reduce cholesterol level. The most common of them are called Statins.
All medicines can cause some side effects. In most cases those side effects are not serious. Inform the doctor, if do not feel well after taking these medicines. The doctor may change the medicine if needed.
Warnings and Precautions
Patient should inform the doctor about any other illness or medicines that he/she may be taking. Some medicines do not work well or cause serious side effects when given with other medicines. It is better for the patient to bring all the medicines currently taking to show them to the doctor.
Why is it important to take this medication regularly as prescribed?
Patients are usually required to take these medication for the rest of life. They should not stop taking these medication unless the doctor advises to do so. The cholesterol levels increases if patient stops taking these medications. Talk to the doctor/ pharmacist in case of any side effects or dose adjustment, if required.
What should I do if I forget to take this medication?
Take the prescribed dose as soon as you remember. However, if the time for the next dose is near, do not take an extra dose and just take the regular dose as prescribed by the doctor.
How to store these medications?
Keep the medicine in the original package with product leaflet and patient information. Store in dry place at room temperature. Keep it away from the reach of children.