Medicine & USMLE


Cardio Drugs - Lipid Lowering
  1. Fibrates
  2. Statins
  3. Ezetimibe
  4. Nicotinic Acid (Niacin)
  5. Bile Acid Sequestrants


Ezetimibe is a lipid-lowering drug that works by blocking cholesterol absorption from food, as well as blocking cholesterol reabsorption from bile. In turn, this lowers LDL cholesterol. Side effects of ezetimibe include myopathy, diarrhea, and liver damage.

Key Points

  • Ezetimibe (Zetia)
    • Clinical Use
      • Lipid lowering drug
        • Also referred to as an “antilipemic”
        • Lowers cholesterol levels
    • Mechanism
      • Lowers LDL
        • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein
        • Often called “bad” cholesterol
      • Blocks reabsorption of cholesterol from bile
        • Bile is a digestive fluid that contains cholesterol and is excreted from the gallbladder into the small intestine. Exetimibe acts in the small intestines to inhibit cholesterol reabsorption from bile
      • Blocks absorption of cholesterol from food
        • The food we eat often contains cholesterol. Exetimibe acts in the small intestines to inhibit cholesterol absorption from food
    • Side Effects
      • Myopathy
        • Monitor CK level
        • Report any muscle pain or weakness to the provider
      • Liver damage
        • Monitor liver function tests (LFT)
        • Risk of liver damage is increased if ezetimibe is taken alongside a statin
        • Avoid alcohol
      • Diarrhea