One of the most common health concerns nowadays is high cholesterol. No matter where you are in the world, there are thousands of people who try their best to manage cholesterol levels. It is a condition that does not choose a time or place, financial capacity or social status, and age or nationality. Anybody can get high cholesterol levels, especially since our modern world is a stressful one.
Cholesterol is not bad. It is something that we need so that our bodies can perform essential functions like build cells, produce hormones, and use energy. It comes from two sources: the manufacturing center of the liver and the food that we eat. However, the amount of cholesterol that comes from the liver is dependent on the kind of lifestyle we live (what we eat and what we do), as well as with specific genetic factors. Too much cholesterol is not good because it can clog the arteries and lead to serious health problems.
An individual who has been diagnosed with high cholesterol levels will have to follow doctor’s orders to change his lifestyle. Food intake is controlled to make sure that the patient stays loyal to his low cholesterol and low saturated fat diet, that the patient is encouraged to become more physically active, that he loses excess weight, and that he stops smoking (and drinking).
A high cholesterol patient is also given cholesterol-lowering medications. This (along with the lifestyle change) is important in reducing the patient’s risk for coronary heart disease.
Who Needs Cholesterol Medication?
People who are at risk of developing coronary heart disease are primarily the ones who need medication for lowering cholesterol. More specifically, these are people who have high levels of LDL (Low –density lipoprotein), otherwise known as the bad cholesterol.
Accordingly, a person who has a risk level of over 10% of developing heart disease (equivalent to a cholesterol level of more than 190), he should start taking cholesterol-lowering medication. Those who have risk percentage lower than that – 7.5% to 10%, to be more specific – are not required to take the said medication but are strictly advised to undergo a lifestyle change that includes diet adjustment and light exercise.
Likewise, people with a history of heart attack or stroke should take cholesterol-lowering medications once prescribed by the doctor.
What are Cholesterol Medications?
Cholesterol-lowering medications are prescribed drugs and therefore, cannot be bought over the counter. The most common among these medicines are statins, which are needed to slow down an enzyme that produces cholesterol in the liver. As such, the cholesterol produced is reduced. Although there are other medications for cholesterol, statins are the most recommended because they are the ones that work to lower heart attack or stroke risk.
The primary objectives of cholesterol-lowering medications are:
- To bring down one’s LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease
- To reduce triglycerides, which is fat found in the blood that’s also responsible for increases heart disease risk
- To bring up the levels of HDL or high-density lipoprotein, or the right cholesterol. LDL can help protect and guard against heart disease
The best cholesterol medication does all these for high-risk patients. There are different types of statins, but all work to bring down LDL and triglycerides, while also increasing HDL levels. These statins are Altoprev or lovastatin, Crestor or rovustatin, Lescol or fluvastatin, Lipitor or atorvastatin, Livalo or pitavastatin, Pravachol or pravastatin, and Zocor or simvastatin.
There are also cholesterol-lowering treatments that are injected. These injectable medications – like Praluent or alirocumab and Repatha or evolocumab – are used to reduce LDL levels in patients with a genetic condition that results in high LDL levels.
Cholesterol-lowering medications are said to reduce LDL levels to at least 20 to 60%. This happens because the liver can remove more of the bad cholesterol that’s already in the blood. Production of cholesterol also slows down significantly. What makes statins more efficient compared to the other medications indicated above is it effectively raises levels of good cholesterol (HDL). It does this more efficiently than the other cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Medications for cholesterol are administered to patients according to several factors. Doctors mainly look at the following as a basis for which statin to prescribe:
- The patient’s age
- Other health conditions of the patient
- The level a patient can tolerate a statin
- The level of cholesterol of the patient, as well as how much should be lowered
- The types of drugs the patient also takes
As such, when a patient consults with his doctor, it is vital to disclose essential matters like family history of heart disease, cholesterol levels (if the patient knows), existing medical conditions, and medications he is currently taking. No patient can administer statin or any cholesterol-lowering medicines on his own.
Most of the best cholesterol medication, particularly statin, take effect after two to four weeks at the most. This depends, however, on the dosage, so patients should expect adjustments in this area from time to time.
Aside from giving patients the ideal medication for controlling cholesterol levels, doctors also advise them to make healthy lifestyle choices. As such, if a patient smokes, he is asked to quit. This follows for other vices and unhealthy lifestyle practices like drinking alcohol and being inactive. Patients who are overweight or have weight problems are required to shed off the excess pounds. Diabetic patients are strictly advised to stick to their diet. Lastly, a patient should follow a meal plan that’s low in (bad) cholesterol and saturated fat.
A healthy lifestyle, a positive attitude, and a stress-free (or less stressed) environment work well with statins and other medications in managing cholesterol to proper levels.
Cholesterol-lowering medications usually come in tablet or capsule form, except for the injectables.
What are the Components of Cholesterol Medication?
Not all cholesterol medications are created the same way. Some are more effective than the others, and there are those that have more severe side effects compared to other medicines. This is because each one is made to attack bad cholesterol differently, although the general goals are to reduce the LDL levels and increase HDL.
Statins. One of the best cholesterol medication options, statins removes excess cholesterol in a patient’s blood vessels by reducing the liver’s cholesterol production capabilities. They are also suitable for increasing the levels of good cholesterol or HDL. There are seven basic types of statins available in the market. Also, there are also statins in some combination medications like lovastatin + niacin, simvastatin + ezetimibe, and atorvastatin + amlodipine.
Statin formulation varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, that is why it is essential to consult with your doctor before taking one. It has both active and inactive ingredients and may contain preservatives.
Bile Acid Binding Resins. Bile Acid Binding Resins gets rid of the bad cholesterol in the body by preventing bile absorption during the digestion process. Bile is created (by the body) with the aid of cholesterol, and it is essential for digestive purposes. This cholesterol-lowering medication binds to bile. Therefore, the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream is significantly reduced.
Selective Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors. These cholesterol-lowering medications decrease bad cholesterol by preventing (inhibiting) the intestines from absorbing LDL cholesterol. Selective Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors, which was first approved in 2002, also aid in increasing HDL or good cholesterol levels.
Fibrates. This cholesterol-lowering drug helps raise HDL cholesterol levels and reduce LDL. It can be taken alone or with other medications (except for statin as this can lead to muscle problems). Fibrates, or fibric acid derivatives, are available in three varieties – Fenofibrate (Antara, Lofibra, and Triglide), Clofibrate (Atromid-S), and Gemfibrozil (Lopid).
Omega-3 Fatty Acid or Fish Oil. Omega-3 fatty acid comes from chemically changed and purified fish oil. It is used mostly for helping people with extremely high levels of triglycerides. It can be a prescription drug or a supplement. The most popular options are Vascepa and Lovaza.
Niacin or Nicotinic Acid. This cholesterol-lowering medication is more popularly known as vitamin B3. Its primary function is to boost HDL levels while lowering bad cholesterol. It does this by affecting the liver’s blood fats production.
Niacin is available both as a prescription drug and as a dietary supplement. Over-the-counter purchases niacin, however, is not advisable for people with high cholesterol. Also, this can be combined with statins if the goal is to achieve an HDL level increase of at least 30%.
Prescription-strength niacin options are Niaspan, Slo-Niacin, and Niacor.
What are the Precautions for Taking Cholesterol Medication?
Looking for the best cholesterol medication means you need to know what precautions to take. Each drug has side effects like diarrhea, constipation, nausea, muscle soreness/pain/weakness, stomach pain, bloating, gas, fatigue, cramps, abdominal pain, flushing (on the face and neck), peptic ulcers, vomiting, gout, high blood sugar, dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, chills, indigestion, belching, swelling, itching, rashes, hives, flu, and swelling of nasal passages.
Additionally, statins can negatively react when taken in combination with grapefruit juice. Injectable medications may also cause some bruising or pain on the area that was injected.
These side effects do not show up together or all at once. Most of them are also mild. To properly manage these, you need to consult with your doctor before taking any medication. Even the best cholesterol medication can only efficiently work if taken correctly, in correct dosages and amounts.
Side effects like these are the primary reason why some people – including doctors – prefer to go more natural on their cholesterol medication choices.
What are the Best Medications for Lowering Cholesterol?
Here are five of the best medication options for lowering cholesterol. Some of the items in this list are herbal/natural supplements.
This cholesterol lowering product is labeled as a “cholesterol destroyer.” Its contents are niacin, policosanol (for decreasing the liver production of cholesterol), gugulipid (for lowering LDL levels), cayenne, and garlic (an antioxidant that can help reduce cholesterol levels). It comes in capsule form.
- There is a significant decrease in cholesterol levels, even for patients with high cholesterol
- It is easy to swallow
- At least one user said there are no side effects after taking the capsule
- The Cholesto Destroyer is also more affordable than other brands
- Overdose can cause heartburn
- People who are sensitive to niacin may develop headaches
This is Amazon’s number one choice for Lipitor. Lipitrol is a capsule that contains nutrients essential for supporting healthy blood fats. It also works to keep cholesterol on a good and healthy level. Its ingredients include chromium (O-polynicotinate), Guggul resin, guar gum, Sytrinol, artichoke leaf extract, natural vegetable capsules, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, stearic acid, and calcium silicate. The critical Lipitor ingredient in this product is Sytrinol, which is essential for supporting cholesterol metabolism.
Lipitrol also has strong antioxidant support for blood vessels.
- Consumers are positive in their reviews, declaring that the product lowered bad cholesterol levels
- At least one has been using the product for years without any problems
- Amazon highly recommends it
- Maybe a bit expensive for some
This is a 100% natural cholesterol management supplement. Its primary function is to lower harmful cholesterol levels. An add-on function is helping improve the patient’s immune system while keeping the heart healthy and protected.
UltaLife Premium Cholesterol Support is made of the most exquisite heart-healthy ingredients like niacin, plant sterols, cayenne herb powder, guggulipids, policosanol, and garlic herb powder. Cayenne helps eliminate or lessen the build of plaque on the arterial walls.
- Contains niacin, which is an essential element for maintaining good cholesterol levels
- Aside from this, it also keeps the heart protected by reducing plaque build-
- The product carries the Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) seal
- Bonus: the pills do not taste bad!
- At least one user said she is still unable to determine what changes or effects the product has on her
This Omega-3 Fish Oil Triple Strength supplement is a number one bestseller on Amazon and is one of the best cholesterol medication options. It is made from ultra-pure refined fish oil. One serving contains 2000mg of fish oil and 1400mg Omega-3 fatty acids. It is essential for proper heart health and has other benefits as well, including improved joint and brain health, improved skin and hair, and better mental state and mood. This non-GMO fish oil is easy to absorb, so it is burpless.
- Contains essential ingredients for good heart health
- Does not contain harmful ingredients and has a high absorption ratio
- Additionally, Dr. Tobias’ Omega-3 Fish Oil is NSF-tested
- A 3rd party-tested product is guaranteed to be efficient, efficient, and of excellent quality
- At least one user says it may be made of cheaper omega-3 fish oil such as Ethyl Esters
- Another consumer said that while the product is clean, burpless, and affordable, he/she has not noticed any significant changes after taking it
Progressive Health’s heart-healthy product is useful in lower and regulating blood pressure. It also works to lower cardiovascular risks because of the folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 it contains. Vitamin B12 is also said to help prevent long-term homocysteine build-up, so it effectively protects patients from atherosclerosis.
This product contains Hawthorne, which has been proven effective in improving cardiovascular health.
- Manufactured and made with vegetarian capsules
- Does not contain animal by-products or gelatin
- Several users of the product said they did not experience any side effects after taking Aventrol
- No bad reviews so far
Our Choice for the Best Medication for Lowering Cholesterol
Our choice for the best cholesterol medication product is Concerning Life’s Cholestero Destroyer. This product’s name is 100% apt for what it does; it effectively “destroys” and reduces the bad cholesterol in the body and blood. The fact that it contains niacin, one of the essential ingredients for good heart health, is already a plus factor.
An additional advantage is the fact that it contains other powerful (but harmless) ingredients like cayenne, policosanol, garlic, and gugulipid. All these components help in lowering LDL and cholesterol levels, while also preventing the liver from overproducing cholesterol.
Concerning Life’s Cholesto Destroyer is an all-in-one best cholesterol medication because it does not focus on only one aspect of the problem. Moreover, although there are users (who have tried the product) who complained about adverse effects, these were mostly of their own doing. It is a useful and efficient cholesterol treatment product.