Ezetimibe

​​Ezetimibe is a type of medicine known as a cholesterol absorption inhibitor. It is used to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Cholesterol is made by your body and found in some foods. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Patient Leaflet(s)

​​Ezetimibe is a medicine used to lower high cholesterol levels. The active ingredient, ezetimibe, works by stopping cholesterol that you eat from being absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine. This medicine is frequently used in combination with other cholesterol-lowering medicines, but it can also be used on its own.​ 

What is ​Ezetimibe​? 

​​Ezetimibe is a type of medicine known as a cholesterol absorption inhibitor. It is used to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Cholesterol is made by your body and found in some foods. Ezetimibe works by stopping cholesterol that you eat from being absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine. As a result, cholesterol levels in the blood drop. Ezetimibe is usually prescribed in combination with statins, a different class of cholesterol-lowering medication. Ezetimibe can also be used as a stand-alone treatment.  ​ 

When is ​Ezetimibe​ used? 

​​This medicine is used in people with high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance. There are different types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is bad for your health because it can stick to the walls of your arteries and lead to hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. High cholesterol can be caused by a number of factors, such as:​ 

  • ​​A genetic disorder characterised by very high levels of cholesterol in the blood (familial hypercholesterolaemia). ​ 
  • ​​An unhealthy lifestyle (smoking, being overweight, unhealthy diet, insufficient exercise).​ 

​​Cholesterol is made by your body and found in some foods. You can try to lower your cholesterol levels by making some lifestyle changes like switching to a special diet. If changes to your lifestyle don’t help enough, your GP may recommend you take a medicine that can lower your cholesterol.​ 

There are different types of cholesterol-lowering medicines, and each one works in the body a little differently. Some medicines, such as statins, block a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. Other medicines work by stopping cholesterol in foods from being absorbed. Often multiple medicines are combined to achieve the greatest effect possible. 

Ezetimibe is a type of medicine known as a cholesterol absorption inhibitor: it stops cholesterol from food from being absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine. The result is a reduction in cholesterol levels in the blood, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

How is ​Ezetimibe​ used? 

​​This medicine should be taken as directed by the doctor or according to the instructions in the package leaflet. The general recommended use is:​ 

  • ​​One Ezetimibe tablet should be swallowed whole with some water. You can take your tablet at any time of day, either with or without food.​ 
  • If you have forgotten to take a dose of Ezetimibe, you may take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Never take a double dose to make up for the forgotten one. 
  • ​​This medicine should be used together with a cholesterol-lowering diet. It is important to consult a doctor or dietician to develop a diet plan.​ 

For more information on how to use Ezetimibe, see the package leaflet. 

What doses are available? 

​​One Ezetimibe tablet contains 10mg of the active ingredient ezetimibe. Length of treatment and daily dose should be determined by a doctor. The general recommended dose is:​ 

  • ​​Adults: one tablet once a day.​ 

​​This medicine is not suitable for use in children under 18 years of age.​ 

What are the side effects of ​Ezetimibe​? 

​​All medicines can cause side effects, although some people may not experience any. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with Ezetimibe:​ 

  • ​​Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as decreased appetite, indigestion or heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea or flatulence.​ 
  • ​​Tiredness.​ 
  • ​​Pain in the neck.​ 
  • Coughing. 
  • Muscle ache. 
  • Pain in the joints or muscle spasms. 
  • Raised blood pressure. 
  • Chest pain. 

Consult a doctor if you experience these or other side effects (see the package leaflet for a complete list of side effects).  

In rare cases, this medicine can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. This condition can lead to kidney failure. Contact a doctor at once if you have unexplained muscle pain or tenderness or muscle weakness while taking this medicine. 

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction or other severe side effects. For more information, see the package leaflet. 

When not to use ​Ezetimibe​? 

​​In some cases, Ezetimibe should not be used or only on advice of a doctor. Do not use this medicine if:​ 

  • ​​You are allergic to ezetimibe or any other ingredient in this medicine.​ 

​​Do not use Ezetimibe in combination with a statin medicine if:​ 

  • ​​You have an active liver disease.​ 
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and want to use Ezetimibe on its own, it is important to seek medical advice. This is because the safety of Ezetimibe during pregnancy has not yet been established. Therefore, you should not use this medicine or always consult a doctor before you start treatment with it. 

You can find more information on this topic in the package leaflet. 

Can ​Ezetimibe​ be used in combination with other medicines? 

​​Some medicines interact with one another. Interactions can occur when medicines are administered at the same time. Ezetimibe is known to interact with the following medicines:​ 

  • ​​Colestyramine (cholesterol-lowering medicine). You should take your Ezetimibe tablet at least two hours before, or at least four hours after taking colestyramine.​ 
  • ​​Certain anticoagulant medicines (e.g. warfarin and acenocoumarol).​ 
  • ​​Ciclosporin (immunosuppressant).​ 
  • Fibrate medicines (cholesterol-lowering medicines). 

If you are using one of the above-listed medicines, check with your doctor or pharmacist before you start treatment with Ezetimibe to make sure that the combination is safe. You can find more information on this topic in the package leaflet. 

Where can I buy Ezetimibe? 

This medicine is only available at pharmacies or online pharmacies. 

Can I buy Ezetimibe without a prescription? 

Ezetimibe is a prescription-only medicine. This means you need a prescription from a doctor to buy it. 

Sources 

College der Beoordeling van Geneesmiddelen (Dutch Drug Evaluation Committee). (2019, February). Bijsluiter Ezetimibe Accord 10 mg tabletten (Package leaflet Ezetimibe Accord 10 mg-tablets) | Geneesmiddeleninformatiebank. Consulted on 21 May 2020 on https://www.geneesmiddeleninformatiebank.nl/ords/f?p=111:3::SEARCH:NO::P0_DOMAIN,P0_LANG,P3_RVG1:H,NL,117229 

KNMP (Royal Dutch Pharmaceutical Society). (2017, 11 January). Ezetimib - Apotheek.nl. Consulted on 21 May 2020 on https://www.apotheek.nl/medicijnen/ezetimib?product=ezetrol 

Nederlands Huisartsen Genootschap (Dutch College of General Practitioners). (2019, 6 May). Ik ga medicijnen gebruiken bij een hoog cholesterol (Taking medicine for high cholesterol) | Thuisarts. Consulted on 21 May 2020 on https://www.thuisarts.nl/cholesterol/ik-ga-medicijnen-gebruiken-bij-hoog-cholesterol 

Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cardiologie (The Netherlands Society of Cardiology). (n.d.). CHOLESTEROLVERLAGERS (STATINES) (Cholesterol-lowering medicines, statins) | Hartwijzer | NVVC. Consulted on 21 May 2020 on https://www.hartwijzer.nl/cholesterolverlagers 

Zorginstituut Nederland (Dutch National Health Care Institute). (n.d.). Ezetimib - FarmacotherapeutischKompas. Consulted on 21 May 2020 on https://www.farmacotherapeutischkompas.nl/bladeren/preparaatteksten/e/ezetimib 

Assessed by:

Dr Arco Verhoog, Pharmacist
Registration number: BIG: 19065378617

Mr Arco Verhoog holds a degree in pharmacy from the University of Groningen (RUG). He served as a pharmacist in the Netherlands and St Maarten from 2005 to 2008. Since 2008, Arco Verhoog has worked as managing pharmacist on Curaçao.