Cholesterol is a fatty substance that helps your body work properly. As you age, cholesterol levels begin to climb. According to the Center for Disease Control, 20 percent of women between 45 and 54 have high cholesterol. Fortunately, there are a number of medications available to help lower cholesterol levels. These medicines include HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitors (better known as Statins), Bile Acid Sequestrants, Fibrates, Niacin or a combination of any of these drugs.Statin drugs block the production of cholesterol in the liver and lower bad cholesterol levels. This is typically the first line of defense against high cholesterol. Examples of Statins include Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor. Side effects include gas, constipation, headache and upset stomach. You should call your doctor immediately if you experience fever, dark urine, muscle pain or weakness.Bile Acid Sequestrants work inside the intestine by binding bile (which is mostly made of cholesterol) to the liver so it won't be reabsorbed into the circulatory system. Examples include Colestid, Prevalite and Welchol. Common side effects include heartburn, gas, indigestion, nausea and constipation. If you experience stomach pain, vomiting, unusual bleeding, or sudden weight loss you should call your doctor immediately.
Fibrates are also available to lower cholesterol levels. Side effects you may include headache, stomach pain, dizziness, constipation or diarrhea. If you experience weakness, muscle pain or jaundice you should call your doctor immediately.
Niacin drugs work by decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol). Common side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and heartburn. You should call your doctor immediately if you experience fainting, dizziness, jaundice or a fast heartbeat.
There are other drugs, such as Zetia, to decrease cholesterol levels. Additionally, many medications to lower cholesterol can be used in combination with each other, but a doctor should be consulted before doing this.
While medicines are available to lower cholesterol levels, there are a number of lifestyle changes that can help as well. These include lowering your weight, eating a healthy diet and exercising daily.