What Medicines Are Available to Lower High Cholesterol?

Statins, niacin, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, resins and fibrates are some of the medications that help lower cholesterol levels, states Everyday Health. Statins and niacin both work in the liver to help control the body's production of cholesterol, while cholesterol absorption inhibitors help prevent the intestine from absorbing cholesterol.

Some medications merge statins with other similar drugs to reduce cholesterol more effectively, notes Everyday Health. Doctors prescribe niacin to decrease bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and boost good cholesterol levels. Cholesterol absorption inhibitors are also effective in reducing bad cholesterol levels.

Resins, or bile acid sequestrants, lower cholesterol in the intestines by sticking to bile, which triggers the liver to produce more bile, thus allowing the body to remove more cholesterol, explains Everyday Health. Fibrates work effectively in decreasing triglycerides and improving good cholesterol levels, but they are not quite potent when it comes to reducing bad cholesterol levels.

Rare muscle or liver side effects can occur in people who take statins, while itchy skin, flushing or stomach upset may occur in individuals who use niacin, according to Everyday Health. Exhaustion, diarrhea or joint pain are possible side effects of taking cholesterol absorption inhibitors, while digestive problems are sometimes associated with the use of resins. Gastrointestinal distress is a potential side effect of taking fibrates.