Since Zetia works a little differently than the more popular cholesterol medications like Lipitor and Crestor, many people wonder if it can still cause the serious side effects that those drugs are known to cause such as severe muscle breakdown, liver trouble and kidney failure. Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
What is Zetia and how does it lower cholesterol?
Zetia is the brand name of a drug called ezetimibe, one of the newer prescription cholesterol lowering medications. Unlike the more common drugs like Lipitor, which block the enzyme your liver needs to produce cholesterol, Zetia actually works to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. So it doesn’t lower the production of cholesterol, it inhibits the absorption of it into your bloodstream.
Zetia is either prescribed by itself to lower cholesterol, or in conjunction with statin medications (Lipitor, Pravachol, Zocor and others) to maximize cholesterol reduction. There is also a pill than combines Zetia and Zocor into one, called Vytorin. You can read about that on the site as well.
What are the Zetia side effects?
We know that all medications come with potential adverse reactions. The reason for this is quite simple. Drugs disrupt normal body functions to produce a desired result, in this case lowering LDL cholesterol absorption. This disruption comes at a price to other systems, organs, tissues, muscles, etc. So while you are “fixing” your cholesterol problem, at the same time you’re risking a number of other, potentially more life threatening issues. So is it worth it? That’s for you to decide.
Taking a look at the official prescribing information on the Merck website, here’s what we discover about Zetia and the potential side effects:
1. In big bold letters it states: “Unlike some statins, Zetia has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks.” (Note that this is the only reason you’re on the drug to begin with no?)
2. In addition to diarrhea, joint pain and tiredness, patients have experienced severe muscle problems, especially when Zetia was added to complement the statin drug they were on. It states that these muscle problems can be quite serious and posssibly result in kidney damage.
3. Here are some of the other problems those taking Zetia have faced: allergic reactions including facial and throat swelling which may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing. Rashes, lesions, alterations in blood tests, liver problems, stomach pain, pancreas inflammation, nausea, depression, gallstones and inflammation of the gall bladder have all been experienced.
So should I not take Zetia? What about combining it with another statin?
Although very serious complications are rare (at least according to the manufacturer) there are many significant potential side effects of taking Zetia, especially in combination with another cholesterol drug such as Zocor. In some cases, you may need to be on some sort of cholesterol lowering medication, but it’s important to note that most people do not fall into that category, despite what doctors will have you believe.
There are alternatives out there, from incorporating dietary changes to exercising to supplements that can reduce cholesterol naturally, all of which have been shown to be beneficial. So you may just be able to lower your LDL without having to deal with any side effects at all. Doesn’t that sound better than being dependent on a prescription drug for the rest of your life?
So the bottom line here is don’t just take a drug blindly without learning more about it. There are other ways to deal with health issues. Here is some additional information about lowering cholesterol that you may find interesting:
1) While statin drugs can effectively lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, they have limited effect on HDL (good) cholesterol, and no effect on triglycerides (fats), an equally important heart disease risk indicator.
2) Statins decrease your body’s supply of CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is an essential nutrient for heart strength and function. So while you are lowering your LDL, you’re also depleting the source of your heart’s energy. This is one of the disruptions we mention above that could be worse than having high LDL.
3) Statins have not been shown to signicantly reduce the risk of heart disease. That benefit has not been established. Even a large clinical study of the #1 selling statin, Lipitor, showed that 3% of patients had a heart attack on a placebo vs. 2% of those taking Lipitor. For every 100 people who took Lipitor for over 3 years, 3 people on placebos had heart attacks vs 2 people on the drug. So only 1 person out of 100 saw some benefit. The other 99 were on a dangerous medication with side effects for over 3 years. Interesting huh?
Featured Zetia Alternative
Some members of our staff have been taking a special natural cholesterol lowering formula with vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts to help lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as decrease triglycerides (fats) and promote overall heart health.
The ingredients of this special formula have been shown to be much safer than the statin medications prescribed by many doctors. Some of the ingredients have actually outperformed statin medications in clinical trials.
Take a look at this natural cholesterol lowering formula and find out how it can help significantly lower your cholesterol levels as well as promote overall heart health.
Natural alternatives to Zetia
Although Zetia and other prescription drugs can lower LDL levels, there are natural alternatives which may be a better, safer option for you. There are nutrients that have been shown to not only lower LDL cholesterol, but also lower triglycerides (fats) and increase the good HDL cholesterol.
Some of these nutrients have actually been proven to outperform statin medications in clinical studies, without the potential Zetia side effects. Take a look at some of these nutrients below:
Policosanol – a natural extract from sugar cane which has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels as well as raise HDL (good) cholesterol. More importantly policosanol has been proven to be free of side effects, unlike the statins.
Guggulipid Extract – an ancient herb from India recently shown to lower cholesterol levels and can also reduce triglyceride levels, another risk factor for heart disease.
Tumeric Extract – much evidence points to the fact that tumeric may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, in addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Green Tea Extract – green tea is widely used for many medicinal purposes, and has been shown to reduce triglycerides as well as LDL cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Green tea also has antioxidants that can prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.
Read more about natural cholesterol lowering nutrients here.
As with all health supplements, make sure you consult your physician or qualified medical professional before taking any cholesterol lowering nutrients or supplement to avoid the Zetia side effects.