Ezetimibe will be prescribed to help lower your cholesterol levels. Take one 10 mg tablet daily.
Some lifestyle changes may also help to reduce your cholesterol level - eat healthy food, do not smoke, and gently increase the amount of exercise you take.
If you develop any unusual muscle aches or pains, contact your doctor for advice as soon as possible.
|Type of medicine||A lipid-regulating medicine|
|Used for||High cholesterol in adults and children over 10 years of age|
|Also called||Ezetrol®; Inegy® (a combination of ezetimibe with a medicine called simvastatin)|
Cholesterol is a type of lipid, or fat. it is made naturally in your body from the food that you eat. When the concentration of cholesterol in your blood becomes too high, it is called hypercholesterolaemia. In people with hypercholesterolaemia, small fatty patches (called atheroma) can develop within the inside lining of their blood vessels. Over time, these patches make blood vessels narrower, and this is called atherosclerosis or 'hardening of the arteries'. This 'narrowing' reduces the blood flow through the arteries and it increases the risk of a number of heart and blood vessel diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.
Ezetimibe works by reducing the amount of cholesterol you absorb from food. This in turn, reduces your risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Ezetimibe is used in combination with a cholesterol-lowering diet. In addition, you may also be prescribed other medicines to take which lower cholesterol.
Before taking ezetimibe
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking ezetimibe it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take ezetimibe
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about ezetimibe and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take ezetimibe exactly as your doctor tells you to. You will be prescribed one 10 mg tablet to take every day. You can take the tablet at whatever time of day you find easiest to remember, but do try to take your doses at the same time of day each day. This will help you to remember to take your doses regularly.
- You can take ezetimibe tablets before or after food.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. You may need to have regular blood tests to see how well you are responding to the treatment, and also to check that your liver stays healthy.
- Your doctor will give you advice about eating a healthy diet, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, stopping smoking and taking regular exercise. Following this advice will help you to reduce your risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease.
- People with high cholesterol do not usually feel unwell, but it is still important that you take ezetimibe regularly every day. Treatment is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect, so continue to take the tablets unless you are advised otherwise.
Can ezetimibe cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with ezetimibe. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common ezetimibe side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, flatulence||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids. Speak with your doctor if this continues|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Muscle pain||Although this may not be anything to be concerned about, you should still tell your doctor about it. This is because there is a rare but serious side-effect which causes a severe form of muscle inflammation|
|Feeling tired||Do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel more awake|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store ezetimibe
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine, ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Ezetrol® 10 mg Tablets; Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2013.
- British National Formulary; 66th Edition (September 2013) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson