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High Cholesterol

Ezetimibe

Ezetimibe is a prescription medication used in the treatment of high cholesterol. It is used to lower cholesterol and is often used alongside other cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins but the two medicines work in different ways.

Ezetimibe helps to lower the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and raise the levels of ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol to prevent the serious complications of this condition. A buildup of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries can lead to chest pain, heart attacks, and strokes. As well as taking cholesterol lowering medication patients are also advised to have a cholesterol lowering diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Last PIL Review Date: 24/01/2020

See Ezetimibe Patient Information Leaflet

This medicine is not available to request via our online service. If you are still having trouble with your symptoms please visit the NHS website for services in your area.


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Dr. Diana Gall GMC No. 7685129

Dr Diana Gall graduated from medical school in 2005 and has since undertaken further intensive training in many different areas of medicine. Dr Diana has reached consultant level and has practiced medicine all over Europe.

Shamir Patel GPHC No. 2049338

Shamir is a well-respected pharmacist with extensive experience running online pharmacies in the UK.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as lipid which is made in the liver. We all need some cholesterol as it has important functions in the body, it is in every cell in the body and is used to make things such as vitamin D, steroid hormones, and bile which helps with digestion. There are two types of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein. LDL is considered to be the bad cholesterol as it builds up in the artery walls which causes heart disease, however, HDL is the good cholesterol which helps to protect the heart.

How does ezetimibe work?

The active ingredient, ezetimibe, belongs to a group of medicines known as cholesterol absorption inhibitors. These work to reduce cholesterol by stopping it being absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestines. These drugs work differently to statins in lowering cholesterol, statins lower cholesterol by preventing the liver from producing cholesterol.

Who is suitable to take ezetimibe?

Ezetimibe is suitable for adults over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol which needs controlling with medication. This medicine is also suitable for patients who are not able to control their cholesterol levels just with a cholesterol lowering diet, or if statins alone are not controlling it well enough. Ezetimibe can be taken by patients who are also taking statins to lower their cholesterol.

Who is not suitable to take ezetimibe?

There are a number of reasons why someone with high cholesterol may not be suitable for this type of treatment. This usually happens when a person has another health condition or is taking other medications which may interact with ezetimibe. You may also be unsuitable for this medicine if you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Always consult your doctor if any of these apply to you before taking this medicine to ensure that it is an appropriate and safe medicine for you to take.

Ezetimibe and pregnancy

There’s not enough evidence of the effects of using ezetimibe alone without statin during pregnancy, and therefore you should always speak to your doctor first before taking this medicine if you’re pregnant. You should not take ezetimibe with a statin if you’re pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or if you’re planning to become pregnant, and the same applies if you’re breastfeeding. If you’re taking this medicine and you fall pregnant stop taking ezetimibe and statins and consult your GP as soon as possible.

Ezetimibe and health conditions

Always ask a doctor if ezetimibe is suitable for you to take if you have other health conditions. It may be that ezetimibe is suitable for your health condition if taking alone, but the combination of this medicine with statins may have risks to some people. If you have an allergy to ezetimibe or any other ingredient in this medicine you will not be able to take it alone or with any other medicine such as statins. Allergic reactions can be severe and potentially life threatening so it’s important to avoid this medicine if you’re aware you have an allergy to it.

If you have liver problems this may also make you unsuitable to take ezetimibe. Speak to a doctor first, it may be that you will need blood tests before and after you start taking taking it to check your liver function. If you have severe liver problems you should not take ezetimibe.

Ezetimibe and other medication

When starting a new medication you should always check that it is safe to take with other medicines that you may currently be taking to avoid side effects and interaction between the drugs. There are some medicines in particular which may interact with ezetimibe and affect how it works. If you’re taking any medicines with the following active ingredients you should tell your doctor before starting ezetimibe. These include:

  • Ciclosporin
  • Warfarin, phenprocoumon, acenocoumarol, fluindione
  • Colestyramine
  • Fibrates

How to take ezetimibe

Always follow the doctor's instructions when taking this medicine. Ezetimibe comes in tablet form and should be taken by mouth. The usual dose is 10mg to be taken once a day and at any time of the day. Before starting this medicine you should be on a diet that lowers your cholesterol and continue this diet while your taking cholesterol lowering medicines.

What are the side effects of ezetimibe?

Like all medicines there are some side effects of ezetimibe, some are more common and some are rare with only 1 in 1,000 people experiencing the rare side effects. Most people will not experience any side effects at all, but if you do, you should stop taking this medicine and visit your GP as soon as possible to discuss alternative treatment to keep your cholesterol levels under control.

Side effects may be different when taking ezetimibe with a statin. The side effects of taking ezetimibe alone may include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, flatulence, and feeling tired which are more common side effects. In rare cases you may have elevations in some blood tests for liver or muscle function, or coughing, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, joint pain, muscle spasms, neck pain, decreased appetite, pain, chest pain, hot flushes, or high blood pressure.

When combined with statins common side effects include elevations in blood tests for liver or muscle function, as well as headaches, muscle pain, tenderness or weakness. Uncommon or rare side effects include tingling sensation, dry mouth, itchy rash, hives, back pain, muscle weakness, pain in the arms and legs, unusual tiredness or weakness, swelling in the hands and feet.

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects, if you experience any negative changes to your health while taking this medicine you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Another important side effect to be aware of is an allergic reaction which may cause symptoms such as swollen face, lips, tongue, and/or throat which may cause breathing or swallowing difficulties. Although allergic reactions are rare, it's important to be aware of the signs and get immediate medical help as they can be severe and dangerous to your health.

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The following delivery methods are currently available within the UK: All orders are sent in discreet, plain packaging.

UK Standard Delivery, £1.99

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using Royal Mail Tracked 48 Service

standard UK delivery within 3-5 working days

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Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using the Express delivery service* (deliveries are made Monday - Saturday)

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Order before 12pm to have your order delivered using Royal Mail Special Delivery Service, which includes Saturday deliveries.

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Order before 12pm to have your order delivered before 1pm next day using Royal Mail Special Delivery service, this also includes Saturday deliveries.

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Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Day Before 9am, £14.99 (This service includes Saturday)

Order before 12pm to have your order delivered before 9am next day using Royal Mail Special Delivery service, this also includes Saturday deliveries.

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Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Next Day Delivery, by 12 Noon, £9.99 (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 12 noon the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Next Day Delivery, by 10:30am, £14.99  (Monday - Friday only. This service does not include Saturday)

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 10:30am the following working day

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Saturday Delivery, £14.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered the following Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Saturday Delivery, by 12:00am, £21.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 12:00am Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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DPD Saturday Delivery, by 10:30am, £29.99

Orders signed by the doctor before 12 noon the day before will be delivered by 10:30am Saturday

If your order is signed by the doctor after 12 noon, your order will be delivered within 2 working days

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