My cholesterol is high, but the medication causes side effects. What other options could I consider to avoid these side effects?
Many people experience side effects to one brand of medicine such as statins, but can tolerate another brand of statin. Start by trying a different brand of the statin medication to see if it can be tolerated without side effects. This is worth the effort since this class of medications has been proven to reduce heart attack, stroke, need for bypass and angioplasty and the risk of death.
Another option is a type of medicine called Bile Acid resins, which reduces cholesterol levels by as much as 20 percent and allows bile to pass through the stool rather than being absorbed by the body.
Non-medicine options include plant stanols such as Benecol margarine, and a diet high in soluble fiber such as oatmeal or Metamucil.
Be sure to discuss all the options with your doctor to find a strategy that works without side effects.
Alan Brown, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist and medical director of the Midwest Heart Disease Prevention Center.