When comparing different types of cholesterol drugs, consider the benefits, the possible side effects and the cautions associated with each medication, advises Mayo Clinic. It's important to remember that the effectiveness of cholesterol drugs vary from one person to another. Talk to your doctor about any other medications you are taking to prevent drug interactions with cholesterol medications, adds Healthline.
Some of the common classes of cholesterol medication include statins, fibrates, niacin, omega-3 fatty acids and injectable medications, according to Mayo Clinic. Statins reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides by slowing down the production of cholesterol in the body and eliminating excess cholesterol, reports Healthline. Some of the side effects include constipation, dizziness, diarrhea, gas and headache. People who are pregnant or who have liver diseases should not take statins.
Fibrates lower triglycerides and may increase levels of high-density lipoprotein, which is good cholesterol, reports Mayo Clinic. Side effects include nausea and stomach pain. When combined with statins, fibrates may cause muscle problems, states Healthline. Niacin decreases cholesterol and triglycerides and boosts the level of HDL cholesterol. Side effects include flushing, itching, headache and upset stomach. Niacin may also increase glucose levels in diabetics.
Omega-3 fatty acids decrease triglycerides and may increase levels of HDL cholesterol, explains Mayo Clinic. Some of the associated side effects include burping, flu-like symptoms, skin rash and upset stomach, notes Healthline. Injectable medications, such as Praluent, reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in people who have genetic conditions that cause an increase in LDL cholesterol.