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High cholesterol medication guidelines

There are a number of drugs recommended to manage cholesterol, the commonest are called statins. It is important to follow a doctor's advice on when to take medication.

If a tablet or medication causes any troublesome side effects, talk to the doctor about changing the dose, when to take the tablets, or whether a different medicine might be more suitable for you.

Cholesterol medication tips

Take all medicine as advised by your health care provider.

  • Take your medication as directed by your doctor at the same time every day. Do not stop taking or change your medication unless you first talk with your doctor. Even if you feel good, continue to take your medication as advised. Stopping your medication suddenly can make your condition worse.
  • Have a routine for taking your medication. Get a medication organiser or pillbox that is marked with the days of the week. Fill the box at the beginning of each week to make it easier for you to remember.
  • Keep a medication calendar and note every time you take a dose. Your prescription label tells you how much to take at each dose, but your doctor may change your dosage periodically, depending on your response to the medication. On your medication calendar, you can list any changes in your medication dosages as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Do not take any over-the-counter medicines or herbal therapies unless you ask your doctor or pharmacist first.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, ask your doctor about skipping the missed dose and going back to your regular dosing schedule rather than taking two doses to make up for the dose you missed.
  • Regularly get your prescriptions filled and ask your pharmacist any questions you have about your prescription. Do not wait until you are completely out of medication before getting a new prescription. Let your doctor know if you have trouble getting to the pharmacy, have financial concerns, or have other problems that make it difficult for you to get your medication.
  • When travelling, keep your medication with you so you can take it as scheduled. On longer trips, take an extra week's supply of medication and copies of your prescriptions, in case you need to get a refill.
  • Before having surgery with a general anaesthetic, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist in charge what medication you are taking.
  • Some medication may alter your heart rate. Ask your doctor if you need to take your heart rate regularly.
  • You may need to avoid alcohol as it can increase the side effects of some medication or interfere with medication.
  • Understand your medication. Know what it's for, and how and when you're supposed to take it.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about adjustments if your medication routine is too complicated.
  • If you have trouble understanding your doctor or pharmacist, ask a friend or loved one to go with you and help you.
  • If you don't feel like your medication is making a difference, speak with your doctor.
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