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All about: ezetimibe

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Generic Name: ezetimibe (eh ZEH teh mib)
Brand Names: Zetia

What is ezetimibe?

Ezetimibe reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body.

Ezetimibe is used to treat high cholesterol. Ezetimibe is sometimes given with other cholesterol-lowering medications.

Ezetimibe may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about ezetimibe?

Ezetimibe is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

Do not stop using ezetimibe without first talking to your doctor. It may take several weeks of taking the medication before your condition improves.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking ezetimibe?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to ezetimibe, or if you have liver disease.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • kidney disease;

  • diabetes;

  • overactive thyroid; or

  • if you use steroid medicine or hormones (including birth control pills).

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use ezetimibe, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether ezetimibe passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from this medicine.

How should I take ezetimibe?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor.

Take this medication with a full glass of water.

Ezetimibe is usually taken once a day. You may take the medicine with or without food. Take ezetimibe at the same time each day.

Some cholesterol medications should not be taken at the same time. Do not take ezetimibe with cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran), colestipol (Colestid), or colesevelam (Welchol). Wait at least 4 hours after taking any of these medicines before you take ezetimibe. You may also take ezetimibe 2 hours before taking any of these other medicines.

Ezetimibe may be taken at the same time with fenofibrate (Antara, Lipofen, Lofibra, TriCor, Triglide), or with any of the "statin" drugs such as lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor), pravastatin (Pravachol), fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), or cerivastatin (Baycol).

Ezetimibe is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Do not stop using ezetimibe without first talking to your doctor. It may take several weeks of taking the medication before your condition improves. Store ezetimibe at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

An overdose of ezetimibe is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.

What should I avoid while taking ezetimibe?

Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Ezetimibe will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.

Ezetimibe side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • unusual muscle weakness, tenderness, or pain;

  • chest pain; or

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Other less serious side effects are more likely to occur, such as:

  • tired feeling;

  • stomach pain, diarrhea;

  • runny or stuffy nose, cold symptoms;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • headache, dizziness; or

  • cough.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect ezetimibe?

Before taking ezetimibe, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • cholestyramine (Prevalite, Questran);

  • clofibrate (Atromid-S);

  • gemfibrozil (Lopid);

  • cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf); or

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use ezetimibe or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect ezetimibe. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist may have more information about ezetimibe written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Ezetimibe is available with a prescription under the brand name Zetia. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Zetia 10 mg-white, capsule-shaped tablets

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.02. Revision Date: 7/27/06 3:01:34 PM.

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