Generic name: ezetimibe (e-ZET-i-mibe)
Drug class: Cholesterol absorption inhibitors
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Aug 2, 2021.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antihyperlipidemic
Pharmacologic Class: Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitor
Uses for ezetimibe
Ezetimibe is used to lower cholesterol and triglyceride (fat-like substances) levels in the blood. Using ezetimibe may help prevent medical problems caused by such substances clogging the blood vessels.
Ezetimibe is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using ezetimibe
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For ezetimibe, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to ezetimibe or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Ezetimibe has been tested in children and, in effective doses, has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults. Ezetimibe should only be used in children 10 years of age or older.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of ezetimibe in the elderly with use in other age groups, ezetimibe has been used in elderly patients and is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking ezetimibe, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using ezetimibe with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using ezetimibe with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Fenofibric Acid
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of ezetimibe. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Liver disease (or history of) or
- Liver enzymes, persistently high levels—Use of ezetimibe may make liver problems worse
Proper use of ezetimibe
Before prescribing medicine for your condition, your doctor will probably try to control your condition by prescribing a personal diet for you. Such a diet may be low in fats, sugars, and/or cholesterol. Many people are able to control their condition by carefully following their doctor's orders for proper diet and exercise. Medicine is prescribed only when additional help is needed and is effective only when a schedule of diet and exercise is properly followed.
Also, ezetimibe is less effective if you are greatly overweight. It may be very important for you to go on a weight-reducing diet. However, check with your doctor before going on any diet.
The dose of ezetimibe will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of ezetimibe. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
Follow carefully the special diet your doctor gave you. This is the most important part of controlling your condition and is necessary if the medicine is to work properly.
- For tablet dosage form:
- For high cholesterol:
- Adults: 10 milligrams (mg) once daily. May take with or without food.
- Children up to 10 years of age—Use is not recommended.
- Children 10 years of age and older—10 milligrams (mg) once daily. May take with or without food.
- For high cholesterol:
If you miss a dose of ezetimibe, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using ezetimibe
It is very important that your doctor check you at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly to lower your cholesterol. Your doctor can then decide if you should continue to take it.
Check with your doctor immediately if you think that you may be pregnant. Certain cholesterol medications may cause birth defects or other problems in the baby if taken during pregnancy.
Tell your doctor if you experience any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. It is very important that you take all of your medicine. Your doctor will discuss with you any changes in your medicine. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Ezetimibe side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Frequency not determined
- Abdominal fullness
- black tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- blood in urine or stools
- darkened urine
- fast heartbeat
- gaseous abdominal pain
- general tiredness or weakness
- large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, sex organs
- loss of appetite
- light-colored stools
- muscle cramps or spasms
- muscular tenderness, wasting or weakness
- pains in stomach, side or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- pinpoint red spots on skin
- recurrent fever
- severe nausea
- skin rash
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- upper right abdominal pain
- yellow eyes or skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- muscle pain
- runny nose
- sore throat
- Back pain
- body aches or pain
- chest pain
- cold or flu-like symptoms
- difficulty in moving
- dryness or soreness of throat
- muscle pain or stiffness
- pain in joints
- pain or tenderness around eyes and cheekbones
- shortness of breath or troubled breathing
- stomach pain
- stuffy nose
- tender, swollen glands in neck
- tightness of chest or wheezing
- trouble in swallowing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- voice changes
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
- Can it cause weight gain or loss?
- What happens if you stop taking it?
- When should you take it?
- Does it lower triglycerides?
- When is the best time to take it?
- When is the best time to take it?
- Is it a statin drug?
More about ezetimibe
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
- Compare Alternatives
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- 129 Reviews
- Drug class: cholesterol absorption inhibitors
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