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Ezetimibe

Ezetimibe is a cholesterol-lowering medication that works by reducing the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.

Last Modified: 28 Mar 2024

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Overview

What is Ezetimibe? 

Ezetimibe is a cholesterol-lowering medication that works by reducing the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body. 

Ezetimibe is a synthetic compound that selectively inhibits the intestinal absorption of cholesterol and related phytosterols. It is structurally different from other classes of cholesterol-reducing medications. 

Global Name

Generic name: Ezetimibe 
Brand names: Zetia, Ezetrol 


Usage

What is Ezetimibe used for? 

Ezetimibe is used to treat: 

  • High cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia), especially low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) - 13-20% lowering capacity. 
  • Sitosterolemia (a rare genetic condition that results in the increased absorption of plant sterols) 
  • In combination with statins for patients with coronary heart disease or a history of acute coronary syndrome to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events 

How do you use Ezetimibe? 

Availability:

Ezetimibe is available as a tablet for oral administration. 

Dosage information: 

  • The typical dose for adults and children 10 years and older is 10 mg once daily, with or without food. 
  • Doses do not vary significantly between adults and geriatric patients but should be used cautiously.

Suitability: 

  • Children: Approved for children 10 years and older. 
  • Adults: Suitable for adults at the recommended dosage. 
  • Elderlies: Suitable, with no specific dosage adjustment required in elderly patients. 
  • Allergies: Patients with a known hypersensitivity to Ezetimibe or any of its components should not take this medication. 

Is there anyone who can’t take Ezetimibe? 

  • Children: Not recommended for children under 10 years of age. 
  • Adults: Those with active liver disease or who have unexplained persistent liver enzyme elevations should not take Ezetimibe. 
  • Elderlies: Can generally take Ezetimibe, but with caution if there are any liver-related issues. 
  • Pregnancy and Lactation: Should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Caution is advised for lactating mothers. Generally not recommended for use if combined with “statin” lipid lowering drugs. 

Any warnings and precautions : 

Patients taking Ezetimibe should have their cholesterol levels monitored. The drug should be used with caution in patients with liver disease. Muscle pain or weakness should be reported to a healthcare provider as it may be a sign of a rare but serious condition. 

Interactions: 
Ezetimibe can interact with certain medications, such as cyclosporine and fibrates. It is contraindicated in patients with active liver disease or persistent liver enzyme abnormalities. 

Side Effects

Common side effects include upper respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, and joint pains. Severe side effects are rare but may include liver enzyme abnormalities and myopathy. 

Pharmacist Tips

  • Consistent Timing: Take Ezetimibe at the same time each day to maintain an even level of the medication in your bloodstream. 
  • Monitoring: Regular cholesterol checks are necessary to assess the effectiveness of the medication and to adjust dosages if needed. 
  • Diet and Lifestyle: Continue to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet while taking Ezetimibe. Exercise regularly as recommended by your healthcare provider. 
  • Drug Interactions: Inform your pharmacist about all medications you're taking, including over-the-counter drugs, to avoid potential interactions. 
  • Side Effects Management: Report any unusual muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if accompanied by malaise or fever. 
  • Pregnancy and Nursing: Discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. 
  • Storage Information: Store Ezetimibe at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not store it in the bathroom. 
  • Handling Instructions: Keep the medication in its original container, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. 

Availability

Where is Ezetimibe available in Hong Kong?

Ezetimibe is a prescription medication that can be prescribed by healthcare providers then bought in pharmacies. 

FAQs

Can I take Ezetimibe with a statin?

Yes, Ezetimibe can be taken with a statin to further lower cholesterol levels, under medical supervision. 

How quickly does Ezetimibe work?

Cholesterol levels can start to decrease within 2 weeks, with significant effects seen at 4 weeks. 

Is Ezetimibe available for purchase over the counter?

No, Ezetimibe requires a prescription from a healthcare provider. 

How long does Ezetimibe stay in your system?

The elimination half-life of ezetimibe, which is the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body, is approximately 22 hours. However, it's important to note that the effects of ezetimibe can last longer than its elimination half-life due to its mechanism of action.

Disclaimer
This website provides content related to drug use and medicine for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not use the information on this website to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare provider. The website's owners and contributors are not liable for any repercussions, adverse effects, or consequences resulting from the use of any medication or information provided herein.

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