For some people, high cholesterol can be passed down through the family, and for others, diet can cause higher than normal cholesterol levels.
Whatever the reason, we have some good news for those of you taking the expensive cholesterol medication Zetia! As of December 12th, 2016 the FDA approved ezetimibe, a less expensive generic to Zetia, and it is in pharmacies now.
What is Zetia (ezetimibe) indicated for?
Zetia (ezetimibe) is prescribed in combination with a proper diet for the treatment of high cholesterol. It works along the edges of the digestive tract in the intestine to block the absorption of cholesterol. Keep in mind that Zetia (ezetimibe) is not a statin, and treats high cholesterol differently than statins.
In fact, Zetia works differently than other cholesterol medications. So, adding it to your current high cholesterol treatment regimen may help reduce your cholesterol even further. You can speak with your doctor to see if Zetia (ezetimibe) will work for you.
What are the most common side effects of ezetimibe?
The most common side effects of ezetimibe include: joint pain, dizziness, upper respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, sinusitis, or pain in extremities.
What strength(s) and dosage form(s) is ezetimibe available in?
Just like the brand name medication, ezetimibe is available as a 10 mg tablet.
Who manufactures ezetimibe?
For the first 180 days (6 months), Glenmark and their partner Endo Pharmaceuticals will be the only company making ezetimibe. After the 180 days of drug exclusivity, other generic drug companies will be permitted to make ezetimibe. When new companies start to manufacture ezetimibe, prices should go down!
Why does high cholesterol matter?
Although you may not feel the direct effects of high cholesterol, it is putting you at higher risk for cardiovascular events such as heart attack or a stroke. Make sure to talk with your doctor if you are worried about your cholesterol levels.
What if I want to continue to use brand Zetia?
If you would like to take brand Zetia, instead of generic ezetimibe, make sure your doctor writes ‘brand medically necessary’ on your prescription. This means that the pharmacy is not permitted to substitute and give you the generic product.
If your doctor does not write ‘brand medically necessary’ on your prescription, you can still request that your pharmacist fills the brand medication for you. Just be sure to inform the pharmacy before having the prescription filled.
Keep in mind that because the generic product is now available, your insurance company may not be willing to cover the cost of the more expensive brand medication. Be sure to check your prescription insurance company to find out if its covered before taking a trip to the pharmacy.