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How does Zetia (ezetimibe) work to lower cholesterol?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 12, 2022.

How effective is Zetia in lowering cholesterol?

Official answer


Zetia (ezetimibe) is a cholesterol lowering medication from the class of drugs called cholesterol absorption inhibitors.

The way Zetia (ezetimibe) works is it reduces cholesterol absorption from the small intestine so there is less cholesterol delivered to the liver. This means there is a lower amount of cholesterol stored in the liver, which leads to more cholesterol being cleared from the blood and results in lower blood cholesterol levels.

How effective is Zetia in lowering cholesterol?

In a clinical study comparing Zetia (ezetimibe) to a placebo, Zetia was effective in decreasing cholesterol absorption from the small intestine by 54%.

Zetia can be taken as a sole cholesterol lowering medication, or Zetia can be prescribed together with other cholesterol lowering medications including statins or fenofibrate. These additional cholesterol lowering drugs have a complementary lipid lowering effect, as they work in a different way to Zetia to reduce cholesterol levels.

Zetia should be taken in conjunction with lifestyle changes including cholesterol lowering diet, exercise and a weight management plan.

Bottom line:

  • Zetia is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor.
  • Zetia lowers cholesterol by reducing the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed from the small intestine.
  • In a clinical study Zetia reduced cholesterol absorption from small intestine by 54%.

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