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Ezetimibe

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

Medically reviewed: November 27, 2017

What is ezetimibe?

Ezetimibe reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.

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

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

Important Information

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 ezetimibe 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:

  • moderate to severe liver disease.

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 breast-feeding a baby.

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

  • kidney disease; or

  • a thyroid disorder.

Before you start taking ezetimibe, tell your doctor if you already take a statin cholesterol medicine.

Some cholesterol medications can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. This condition may be more likely to occur in older adults and in people who have kidney disease or poorly controlled hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

You should not take ezetimibe with a statin medication if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

It is not known whether ezetimibe alone will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using ezetimibe with a statin medication.

It is not known whether ezetimibe alone passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. You should not breast-feed if you take ezetimibe with a statin medication.

How should I take ezetimibe?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

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

You may take ezetimibe 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.

Some cholesterol medications should not be taken at the same time.

  • If you also take cholestyramine, colestipol, or colesevelam: 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.

  • You should not take ezetimibe with gemfibrozil.

You may need frequent blood tests to check your liver function if you take ezetimibe with a statin medicine.

It may take up to 2 weeks before your cholesterol levels improve. Keep using your medication as directed. You will need frequent blood tests to measure your cholesterol levels.

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 at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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 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 signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some cholesterol medications can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading 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, and dark colored urine.

Side effects may be more likely in older adults.

Common 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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect ezetimibe?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, 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 interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

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.

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

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