Ezetimibe

Pronunciation

Generic Name: ezetimibe (ez ET i mibe)
Brand Names: Zetia

What is ezetimibe?

Ezetimibe reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.

Ezetimibe is used to treat high cholesterol. It is sometimes given with other cholesterol-lowering medications.

Ezetimibe may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

Ezetimibe is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Some cholesterol medications should not be taken at the same time. Do not take ezetimibe with cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran), colestipol (Colestid), or colesevelam (Welchol). Wait at least 4 hours after taking any of these medicines before you take ezetimibe. You may also take ezetimibe 2 hours before taking any of these other medicines.

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Ezetimibe may be taken at the same time with fenofibrate (Antara, Lipofen, Lofibra, TriCor, Triglide), or with any of the "statin" drugs such as lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor), pravastatin (Pravachol), fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), or cerivastatin (Baycol).

In rare cases, cholesterol-lowering medication can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. This condition can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor at once if you have unexplained muscle pain or tenderness, muscle weakness, fever or flu symptoms, and dark colored urine.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to ezetimibe, or if you have liver disease.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use ezetimibe:

  • kidney disease;

  • a thyroid disorder; or

  • if you use steroid medicine or hormones (including birth control pills).

In rare cases, cholesterol-lowering medication can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. This condition can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor at once if you have unexplained muscle pain or tenderness, muscle weakness, fever or flu symptoms, and dark colored urine.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether ezetimibe is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether ezetimibe passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from this medicine.

How should I take ezetimibe?

Take ezetimibe exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Ezetimibe is usually taken once a day, with or without food. Try to take ezetimibe at the same time each day.

Some cholesterol medications should not be taken at the same time. Do not take ezetimibe with cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran), colestipol (Colestid), or colesevelam (Welchol). Wait at least 4 hours after taking any of these medicines before you take this medicine. You may also take ezetimibe 2 hours before taking any of these other medicines.

Ezetimibe may be taken at the same time with fenofibrate (Antara, Lipofen, Lofibra, TriCor, Triglide), or with any of the "statin" drugs such as lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor), pravastatin (Pravachol), fluvastatin (Lescol), or atorvastatin (Lipitor).

It may take up to 2 weeks of using this medicine before your cholesterol levels improve. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Your cholesterol will need to be measured using blood tests at regular intervals. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Ezetimibe is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Store ezetimibe at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

An overdose of ezetimibe is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.

What should I avoid?

Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Ezetimibe will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.

Ezetimibe side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to ezetimibe: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • unusual muscle weakness, tenderness, or pain;

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • chest pain;

  • pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate); or

  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash.

Less serious ezetimibe side effects may include:

  • numbness or tingly feeling;

  • mild stomach pain, diarrhea;

  • tired feeling;

  • headache;

  • dizziness;

  • depressed mood;

  • runny or stuffy nose, cold symptoms;

  • joint pain, back pain; or

  • cough.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Ezetimibe dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hyperlipidemia:

10 mg once a day with or without food.

Usual Adult Dose for Sitosterolemia:

10 mg once a day with or without food.

Usual Pediatric Dose for not applicable:

Less than 10 years: not recommended.

Greater than or equal to 10 and less than 17 years: 10 mg once a day with or without food.

What other drugs will affect ezetimibe?

Before taking ezetimibe, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran);

  • colestipol (Colestid);

  • colesevelam (Welchol);

  • gemfibrozil (Lopid);

  • cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf); or

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with ezetimibe. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about ezetimibe.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01. Revision Date: 09/13/2009 1:05:52 PM.

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