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Cholesterol and triglycerides are two main types of lipids in the body. Hyperlipidemia is an elevation of lipids in the bloodstream. People with hyperlipidemia are at risk for coronary artery disease, an accumulation of plaque along the walls of the coronary arteries and atherosclerosis, an accumulation of plaque in other major arteries with the body.
Evaluation of lipid fractions is essential before therapy for hyperlipidemia is initiated. Treatment may include dietary changes, weight reduction, exercise, and medications.
The most common medications used to lower cholesterol today are statins. This family includes drugs such as Crestor/rosuvastatin and Lipitor/atorvastatin. They lower the cholesterol production in the body. Zetia/ezetimibe on the other hand lowers the absorption of cholesterol from the diet.
Fibrates are used mainly used to lower triglycerides – medications such as Tricor/fenofibrate belong in this category. Other agents such as Niaspan/niacin are also prescribed to lower lipids, both by themselves and in combination with statins or fibrates.