Although statins are often the first line of treatment for individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), not all patients achieve therapeutic goals with statins.

In those cases, a lipid specialist may recommend the use of a cholesterol absorption inhibitor, a type of drug that works in the small intestine by decreasing cholesterol absorption from your digestive tract.

Reducing LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol) to goal is important for those with FH. Plaque build-up occurs over the lifespan. Getting to goal prevents that plaque from leading to heart attacks and death.

cholesterol absorption inhibitor for FH

Effectiveness of Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors

Approved in 2002 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ezetimibe is a common cholesterol absorption inhibitor that can be used alone or together with statins.

When taken as prescribed, ezetimibe can reduce LDL-cholesterol by 18 to 25 percent.[1]

It is an effective non-statin therapy for FH, especially when used in combination with cholesterol lowering medications.

 

Who Are Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors Recommended For?

In general, ezetimibe may be prescribed to:

  • People with elevated LDL cholesterol who are not at treatment goal regardless of type of hypercholesterolemia.
  • People who do not tolerate statins.
  • People who cannot lower cholesterol with statins alone.

Not everyone can take ezetimibe such as women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or nursing. Talk to your doctor to find out if cholesterol absorber inhibitor may be right for you.

mother and daughter

[1] Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease: Edition 2. T. Barry Levine Arlene Bradley Levine July 5, 2012