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What Is the Specific Type of Cholesterol Medicine I'm Taking?

The term medicine that lowers cholesterol refers to several types of medicines. They are all used to treat high LDL - known as the bad cholesterol - as well as high triglyceride levels and low HDL levels - known as the good cholesterol. The following are the four main types:

  • bile acid resins, also called bile acid sequestrants
  • nicotinic acid, also called niacin or vitamin B3
  • statins, also called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors
  • fibrates, also called fibric acid derivatives

See the following pages to learn more about the type of medicine that you take for your cholesterol. You will learn more about how to take it, its possible side effects, and potential drug interactions. If you're not sure which type of medicine you take, look for the brand or generic name of your medicine in the alphabetized list below. Or look for its class. See the article for that class to learn how it works, its potential side effects, and potential drug interactions.

Medicines That Lower Cholesterol

Bile Acid Resins
brand generic
Colestid colestipol HCl
Locholest cholestyramine
Locholest Light
Questran Light
Welchol colesevelam HCL
Nicotinic Acid
brand generic
Niacor crystalline nicotinic acid
Nicotinic Acid sustained-release nicotinic acid
brand generic
Lescol fluvastatin Na
Lipitor atorvastatin Ca
Mevacor lovastatin
Pravachol pravastatin Na
Zocor simvastatin
brand generic
Atromid-S clofibrate
Lopid gemfibrozil
Tricor fenofibrate

How your doctor chooses among these types depends on these factors:

  • your cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • your other health problems
  • other medicines you take
  • your other risk factors for heart disease

Your doctor may want you to take one medicine or more than one. You may need more than one if a single medicine doesn't control your cholesterol levels.