Ezetimibe

Ezetimibe - Interactions | Dose | Side Effects

This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.

Ezetimibe is a drug used to lower blood cholesterol levels. It is used in patients whose cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood cannot be controlled with diet and physical activity. Ezetimibe works by reducing the absorption / utilization of cholesterol in the small intestine. Decreased utilization of cholesterol means lower levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Ezetemib will work effectively only if you adhere to certain diet rules, such as:

  • Avoid fatty foods (pork, hamburgers, hot dogs and greasy chicken)
  • Avoid sweets, as any excess sugar in the body is converted into fat and cholesterol

FDA approved the use of this drug in 2002.

Precautions

Ezetimibe is contraindicated in patients who are allergic to this medicine.

Caution should be exercised in the following situations:

  • If you have liver problems or you're taking statins or fibrates (also drugs used to treat high cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Ezetimibe should not be used in children younger than 10 years.

It should be administered cautiously in patients who have thyroid problems.

If you notice any changes on your muscles (sore muscles, muscle cramps, muscle weakness or unusual pain in the muscle), you should inform your physician immediately, as these symptoms are linked to myopathy.

Use of Ezetimibe during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Ezetimibe has been placed in group C which means that studies in animals have shown teratogenic properties of this drug. However, for now, there is not enough data for its use in human pregnancy.

It is not known whether this drug is excreted in breast milk, and breastfeeding should be avoided while on treatment with this drug.

Dosage

The usual dose is 10 mg once a day, regardless of the food.

It can be used together with statins in order to amplify the effect of lowering cholesterol.

Dose adjustment in patients with impaired kidney or liver is not necessary.

It is very important to be on a cholesterol-deficit diet while taking this drug.

Interactions

Ezetimibe, unlike other drugs for high cholesterol treatment, is neither an inhibitor nor an inducer of liver cytochrome enzymes and because of that, there is no significant interactions with other drugs. Caution should be taken only with simultaneous usage of statins and fibrates, because there is a slightly higher risk of liver damage. It is often necessary to control the function of the liver (by taking liver function blood tests) in order to timely determine the liver damage.

Adverse effects

Common adverse effects of Ezetimibe include:

  • Sinusitis
  • Inflammation of the pharynx
  • Cough
  • Back pain
  • Pain in the joints
  • Viral infections
  • Stomachache
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • Feeling tired

Less common side effects of Ezetimibe include:

  • Tingling
  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Pain in the hands and feet
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Swelling, particularly of the hands and feet
  • Allergy

Information on this website are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.

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