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Ezetimibe

Generic name: ezetimibe (ez ET i mibe)
Brand name: Zetia
Dosage forms: oral tablet (10 mg)
Drug class: Cholesterol absorption inhibitors

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Aug 10, 2021.

What is ezetimibe?

Ezetimibe is a prescription medicine used to lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood.

Ezetimibe tablets are used to treat high cholesterol.

Ezetimibe work to reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs. It does not help you lose weight and ezetimibe has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks.

Ezetimibe is used in patients who cannot control their cholesterol levels by diet and exercise alone. It can be used by itself or with other medicines to treat high cholesterol. You should stay on a cholesterol-lowering diet while taking this medicine.

Warnings

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. If you take ezetimibe with another cholesterol medicine, follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

You should not use ezetimibe if you have moderate to severe liver disease. You should not use this medicine with a "statin" cholesterol medicine if you have active liver disease, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.

Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use ezetimibe if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

Ezetimibe is not approved for use by anyone younger than 10 years old.

You should not use ezetimibe with a "statin" cholesterol medicine (Zocor, Lipitor, Crestor, and others) if:

  • you have active liver disease;

  • you are pregnant; or

  • you are breastfeeding a baby.

Statin cholesterol medications can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. This happens more often in women, in older adults, or people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease; or

  • unexplained muscle pain or weakness.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using ezetimibe with a statin medicine. Tell your doctor if you plan to become pregnant.

Do not breastfeed if you take ezetimibe with a statin medicine.

How should I take ezetimibe?

Take ezetimibe exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Ezetimibe is usually taken once daily at the same time each day.

You may take this medicine with or without food.

Ezetimibe may be taken at the same time with fenofibrate, or with a statin medication such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, or fluvastatin.

Your treatment may also include diet, exercise, weight control, and blood tests.

You may need frequent medical tests, even if you have no symptoms.

Your cholesterol levels may not improve for up to 2 weeks.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hyperlipidemia:

10 mg orally once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia:

10 mg orally once a day

Usual Adult Dose for Sitosterolemia:

10 mg orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hyperlipidemia:

10 years or older: 10 mg orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia:

10 years or older: 10 mg orally once a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Sitosterolemia:

10 years or older: 10 mg orally once a day.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking ezetimibe?

Avoid eating foods high in fat or cholesterol, or this medicine will not be as effective.

Ezetimibe side effects

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

Ezetimibe can cause the breakdown of muscle tissue, which can lead to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, or dark urine.

Side effects may be more likely in older adults.

Common ezetimibe side effects may include:

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.

What other drugs will affect ezetimibe?

If you also take other cholesterol medication: Take ezetimibe 2 hours before or 4 hours after taking cholestyramine, colestipol, or colesevelam.

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with ezetimibe, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Frequently asked questions

View more FAQ

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use ezetimibe only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.