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Lescol is prescribed primarily to lower cholesterol.

Coronary artery disease is associated with certain risk factors, including high serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and reduced levels of protective HDL cholesterol.

Diet, exercise and weight control are important first-line preventive approaches. When they are insufficient, drugs like Lescol may help reduce the risk of heart disease. This medication lowers LDL and total cholesterol by keeping the liver from making more.

Side Effects and Interactions

Lescol has relatively few side effects and most people tolerate it well.

Some adverse reactions that may occur include headache, insomnia, joint pain, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea and stomach ache.

Similar medications have caused exaggerated sunburn or rash, blurred vision, dizziness, insomnia, and numbness or tingling of the hands or feet.

Muscle aches, tenderness or weakness is a worry, since it could be a sign of a serious reaction called rhabdomyolysis or myopathy. This has not been reported with Lescol, but report such symptoms ors any others to your physician promptly.

Drugs related to Lescol are more likely to cause rhabdomyolysis or myopathy when they are combined with medications such as the antibiotics erythromyxin, troleandomycin or Biaxin, cholesterol-lowering medicines such as Lopid or niacin, or he transplant drug Sandimmune.

Taking Lescol at the same time as Questran reduces the absorption of Lescol by about 50 percent. If both drugs are needed, Lescol should be taken four or more hours after Questran.

Lescol may increase blood levels of Lanoxin modestly, so patients on both should be monitored.

The tuberculosis drug rifampin can reduce Lescol levels significantly.

Check with your physician and pharmacist to make sure Lescol is safe in combination with any other drug you may take.

Special Precautions

Because Lescol is metabolized by the liver, liver problems or heavy alcohol use are red flags.

Liver enzyme changes have been reported in a small proportion of patients using this medicine, and may indicate serious problems.

Liver function should be tested before anyone starts taking Lescol and after 6 and 12 weeks on the medication. Periodic tests are needed thereafter.

Because cholesterol is essential for the developing fetus and infant, pregnant and nursing women should not take Lescol.

Taking the Medicine

The manufacturer recommends that Lescol be taken in the evening.

It may be taken either with or without food.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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