Zetia (ezetimibe) is a lipid-lowering medication that works to reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed by your body. It is used to treat high blood cholesterol. Controlling the level of cholesterol is important to reduce patient’s risk of getting heart disease or a stroke. This medication may be used independently or in combination with other drugs such as fibrates. Zetia is often used alongside a complete treatment of a low-fat diet and exercise. Zetia is available in its generic alternative called Ezetimibe.
Always use Zetia as directed by one’s physician. This medication is usually taken orally, with or without food, usually once daily or as otherwise specified by your doctor. Take Zetia consistently and regularly to ensure you get the most benefit from the treatment. Even if you feel well, it is important to stay on this medication as those with high cholesterol often do not feel symptoms. It could take up to 2 weeks before you see the full benefit of this drug. Patience is advised.
You should NOT take Ezetimibe with another statin medication if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Prior to using Ezetimibe, tell your doctor:
- If you are allergic to it or any other allergies you do have
- Your medical history especially pertaining to liver disease or a thyroid disorder. A condition that causes the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure, if more likely in older adults taking cholesterol medication.
- If you are or plan to become pregnant. It is unknown whether Zetia alone will harm an unborn baby.
- If you are or plan to breast-feed
- If you already take a statin cholesterol drug
If your condition doesn’t improve or worsens, let your physician know immediately.
Side effects include but are not limited to:
- Stuffy nose, sinus pain, or sore throat
- Muscle or joint pain
- Pain in an arm or leg
If any of these side effects persist or worsen immediately tell your doctor or pharmacist. Tell your doctor right away if you experience:
- Signs of liver problems i.e. severe abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, persistent vomiting or diarrhea, etc.
- Muscle pain or tenderness/weakness
Get immediate medical help if you notice symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as severe dizziness, trouble breathing, rash/itching, hives; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Q: Is it safe to take Zetia with a statin medication while pregnant or breastfeeding?
A: No, it is known that Zetia taken with a statin medication can harm an unborn baby. Discuss pregnancy and related topics with your doctor prior to starting Zetia. You may be advised to use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while on this treatment.
Q: Are there other drugs that will affect Zetia?
A: Yes, discuss your current medications and those you start or stop using with your doctor. Cyclosporine or a blood thinner such as warfarin can be of concern while taking Zetia.
Q: What else should I change while taking Zetia?
A: Zetia should be accompanied by changes in diet and exercise. Discuss the details with your doctor.
Q: Is there anything I should avoid while on Zetia?
A: Yes, eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol will hinder the effectiveness of the drug. Q: Is it okay to take Zetia if I have moderate liver disease? A: No, it is advised not to use Zetia if you have a severe or even a moderate liver disease