Cholesterol is a substance that is created in the liver or introduced to the body by diet. Too much bad cholesterol in the body can cause a thick plaque to develop in the artery walls which can cause blood clots. Blood clots in the narrow arteries can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and damage to the blood vessels. It is important to lower total cholesterol to keep the cardiovascular system healthy. Many medications are available to help lower bad cholesterol.
HMG Co-A Reductase Inhibitors, commonly known as statins, are medications that work in the liver to stop the production of cholesterol. Common statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor) and rosuvastatin (Crestor). Muscle soreness is a common side effect, but, if the muscles become severely weak and painful, there may be a more severe problem. Bile acid binding resins such as Pravachol (cholestyramine) work in the gut to help reduce cholesterol, but can lead to constipation and gas. Niacin (Niaspan) helps reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.