Medicine To Treat Cholesterol

Statins, Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors, Fibrates and Fat Binding Agents are different groups of medicine which are used to treat cholesterol.


What is this medication used for?

These medicines help to improve your cholesterol levels by lowering the amount of 'bad cholesterol' (low density lipoprotein or LDL-cholesterol) and 'fat' (triglyceride) as well as increasing the amount of 'good cholesterol' (high density lipoprotein or HDL-cholesterol). High "bad cholesterol" levels can cause your blood vessels to clog up and lead to chest pain (angina), heart attack or stroke. Hence, these medicines may reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Medicine Group

Examples of Medicine in this Group







Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors





Fat Binding Agents


Related: Cholesterol Management

Dosage and How to Use

  • Please follow the instructions on the prescription label.

  • All medicines in this group except cholestyramine come in the form of tablets or capsules.

  • Cholestyramine is a powder, packaged in a packet, to be taken with water. Cholestyramine may affect the absorption of other medicines. Take other medicines at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after taking cholestyramine.

  • You should continue taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to stop. If you stop taking your medicine, your cholesterol level may rise again.

  • Do not stop taking your medicines without checking with your doctors.

  • If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only the usual dose. Do not double your dose or use extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.

Related: Know Your Medication

Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindication

All medicines potentially have side effects. The side effects are summarised in the table below. In rare cases, the medicines may affect the liver. Your doctor will monitor your liver function.

Medicine Group

Side Effects


  • Stomach disturbances, e.g. stomach pain, constipation, diarrhoea

  • Tiredness

  • Headache, muscle ache

Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors

  • Stomach disturbances, e.g. diarrhoea

  • Tiredness

  • Joint ache


  • Stomach disturbances, e.g. heartburn, diarrhoea

  • Nausea, vomiting

  • Skin rashes

  • Headache, muscle ache

Fat Binding Agents

  • Stomach disturbances, e.g. constipation, diarrhoea

  • Nausea, vomiting

If you notice any of the above side effects or do not feel well after taking the medicines, please inform your doctor immediately.

How do I know if I am allergic to these medicines?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medicine immediately and see your doctor.

What precautions should I follow when taking the medicines?

Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are

  • Allergic to statins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, fibrates, fat binding agents or any other medicines

  • Diagnosed with active liver disease

  • Pregnant or breast-feeding

  • Diagnosed to have complete blockage of the bile duct system

  • Please tell your doctor about all other medicines that you usually take. This is important as certain medicines (e.g. warfarin) may interact with your medicine and may affect their effectiveness or increase the risk of side-effects.

Related: Medication, Dispensing & Counselling

Handling and Storage

  • Keep your medicines in the original container or packaging, tightly closed or sealed in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight.

  • Keep the medicine out of reach of children.

  • Throw away all expired medicines.

This article answers some common questions about this medicine. It does not contain all the available information. It also does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.

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