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Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors

Cholesterol absorption inhibitors are used to manage high cholesterol. They work by blocking cholesterol in food from entering the bloodstream. These drugs may be used alone or in combination with other medicine.

Ezetimibe is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor drug. It may also be known as:

  • Zetia
  • Vytorin—combination of ezetimibe and a statin drug simvastatin
  • Liptruzet—combination of ezetimibe and a statin drug atorvastatin

It is important to let your doctor know about any medicine or supplements you are taking.


Substance: Red Yeast Rice

Effect: Possible Harmful Interaction

Red yeast rice may increase the risk of side effects from ezetimibe. Though it is rare, it may increase the risk of muscle and tendon pain.1,2


Substance: Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Effect: Possible Harmful Interaction

Niacin does not interact well with statin drugs. It may increase the risk of muscle pain or a potentially fatal condition of muscle breakdown called rhabdomyolysis.3,4 Vytorin and liptruzet are combinations of statin and ezetimibe.



1. Kosoglou T1, Statkevich P, Johnson-Levonas AO, et al. Ezetimibe: a review of its metabolism, pharmacokinetics and drug interactions. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2005;44(5):467-94.

2. Abd TT. Jacobson TA. Statin-induced myopathy: a review and update. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2011;10(3):373-387.

3. Eckel RH. Approach to the patient who is intolerant of statin therapy. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;85(5):2015-2022.

4. Ezetimibe/atorvastatin. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated March 6, 2018.

5. Ezetimibe/simvastatin. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated February 6, 2018. Accessed April 12, 2018.

Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO CAM Review Board  Last Updated: 9/5/2018