How medications work

There are several reasons why people refuse to take their medicines. Reasons such as — not being able to afford them; not trusting the prescriber; not liking the taste or appearance and not understanding what it is supposed to do.

My article today will try to assist in the latter reason. How does my medicine work?

We will look at the anti cholesterol medicines. What are they, and how do they do what they do and whether they are safe, etc, etc.

Cholesterol lowering drugs used to be and really should be prescribed as a last resort when it comes to lipid lowering therapy. Lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation, low fat diet, and exercise should be initiated as the first option, but sometimes they may not work to effectively manage your cholesterol, so your prescriber would want to try a different approach.

Typically, eating healthy and exercising regularly are the two most essential ingredients needed to keep cholesterol levels within normal range. However, after trying this as a treatment method, your cholesterol may still not be at the required level and your health-care provider may want to place you on medication. There are many cholesterol-lowering medications currently on the market, and each of these medications lowers cholesterol levels in different ways. In any case, your health-care provider will weigh the benefits and risks of each drug, and select the best cholesterol-lowering medication for you.


Statins, also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are the most commonly prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications. They target every aspect of your cholesterol profile. They decrease LDL between 18 per cent and 65 per cent, increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol) up to five per cent to 15 per cent, and decrease triglycerides by seven per cent to 30 per cent.

Nicotinic Acid

Also known as Niacin or vitamin B3 can be useful. It is not known how niacin works. It seems to prevent the breakdown of the carriers for HDL cholesterol in the blood. As a result, HDL cholesterol levels are increased in the blood. Niacin also decreases the production of the LDL. As a result, triglyceride levels are reduced.


Fibrates reduce the production of triglycerides and can increase HDL cholesterol. An examples is Lopid.


Ezetimibe (Ezetrol) lowers bad LDL cholesterol by blocking cholesterol absorption in the intestine. Research studies have not found that ezetimibe is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol levels must be managed by the person who is taking the medication. If you have been told your levels are high, then your prescriber, your pharmacist, becomes a tool to assist you in reducing the levels. They are not the managers of your levels, you are.

When prescribed the medicine, enquire about the foods and lifestyle modifications needed to manage your cholesterol. Get regular testing and contrary to what you may be told the testing done in your pharmacy is adequate as a management tool, and not a diagnostic reading. You can take those monthly readings to your appointments and discuss your treatment until your doctor does the quarterly lab tests.

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