Ezetrol - Precautions | Use during pregnancy
Ezetrol is a drug that contains ezetimibe as an active ingredient. It works as an inhibitor of intestinal uptake of dietary and biliary cholesterol and is used to lower low-density lipoprotein (bad kind of cholesterol) and to raise high-density lipoprotein (good kind). As many as 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol levels (greater than 200 mg/dL) and considering the fact that elevated cholesterol is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease, it is not surprising that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the USA.
Blood cholesterol level can be reduced up to 10% if you make simple lifestyle changes (weight loss, proper eating habits and increase of physical activity).
However, if you need a larger reduction of cholesterol in the blood (more than 10%) it is necessary to start taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Ezetrol.
Ezetrol can reduce the blood cholesterol level by 10-30%, and is used alone in the treatment of primary hypercholesterolemia (hereditary disorder of cholesterol metabolism) and homozygous sitosterolemia (a rare inherited disease characterized by an increase in levels of plant sterol in the blood). There are no clinical studies that support the use of this drug in the treatment of secondary hypercholesterolemia (which occurs due to poor eating habits, obesity, diabetes or decreased physical activity).
In combination with inhibitors of hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (statins), Ezetrol is used for the treatment of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.
After oral administration, it is rapidly absorbed and most of the drug is metabolized in the liver. Approximately 80% of the drug is excreted in the feces. The highest concentration in the blood is achieved 1-2 hours after oral administration. Approximately 90% of the drug is bound to plasma proteins.
It should be used with extra precautions in the following conditions:
- Moderate or severe liver disease
- Moderate or severe kidney disease
- Hypothyroidism (this drug reduces the absorption of the thyroid hormones)
- Pregnancy and lactation
Ezetrol, pregnancy and lactation
Researc studies on animals have shown possible harmful effects on the prenatal development of the fetus, which is why FDA classified this drug in group C.
Generally, use of cholesterol-lowering drugs during pregnancy should be avoided, because cholesterol is necessary for the proper development of the fetus.
Breastfeeding should be avoided while taking this drug.
How to use
The usual dose in patients older than 10 years is 10 mg once a day, regardless of the food.
Although you're taking this medication, it is still very important to continue to follow a healthy eating pattern.
If you are taking cholestyramine (a drug that is also used for lowering cholesterol), you have to take Ezetrol at least 4 hours before or after taking cholestyramine.
In study that included more than 4700 patients, most commonly reported side effects are back pain and joint pain. In more than 2% of patients following side effects have been reported:
- Inflammation of the pharynx
- Viral infections
- Abdominal pain
Occasionally reported adverse effects include indigestion, neck pain, muscle cramps, decreased appetite, hypertension and chest pain.
Allergic reactions after oral administration of this drug have been rarely reported.