Zetia is a brand name for the generic drug Ezetimibe. It is prescribed in conjunction with a special diet and exercise regimen to reduce cholesterol in the blood. It is sometimes used in combination with a statin, which lowers cholesterol by reducing the action of a key enzyme important to its production within the body. Ezetimibe is categorized as a cholesterol-lowering medicine, and it works by blocking the absorption of cholesterol from food sources in the intestine.
Lowering the blood levels of cholesterol is important in preventing the decrease of blood flow in the circulatory system. The decrease of blood flow due to the presence of cholesterol buildup can result in angina, heart attack, and stroke.
How is it Used
Zetia is available as a tablet that is taken by mouth once per day with or without food. It is recommended to take Zetia around the same time every day. It should always be taken exactly as prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist. It should be taken regardless of feelings of health or sickness.
Before entering into a treatment that involves taking Zetia, there are several important precautions that must be followed:
• A doctor must be notified of all drug allergies.
• A doctor must be notified of all other drugs being taken. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal/nutritional supplements. Some drugs, such as the following, require special precautions to be taken: blood thinners, Neoral, Sandimmune, TriCor, and Lopid.
• Questran, WellChol, or Colestid should not be taken together with Zetia. These drugs should be taken either 4 hours before or 2 hours after.
• Report any instances of liver disease to a doctor.
• Women who are pregnant or who are breast-feeding should discuss the matter with a doctor before taking ezetimibe.
Although there is no solid proof, the FDA is currently investigating several reports that appear to link Zetia to an increased risk of cancer when used in conjunction with the statin simvastatin, known by the brand name Vytorin.
Patients who take Zetia may experience one or more of the following common side effects:
• Cold symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, sneezing)
• Joint pain
Some patients may experience more severe side effects. If any of the following side effect manifest, a doctor should be contacted immediately:
• Difficulty breathing
• Loss of voice
• Extreme fatigue
• Bleeding or bruising
• Stomach pain
• Chest pain
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