From the GIC Winter 2007 Newsletter pdf format of fybwinter2007.pdf

For some people with high blood cholesterol, lifestyle changes are not enough to lower their cholesterol levels. For those people, drugs may be required to treat their high cholesterol. A number of drugs can lower blood cholesterol levels. Your doctor will decide which drugs are right for you.

Statin drugs, which block the formation of cholesterol, are the primary drugs used to decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad", cholesterol levels. Statin drugs are very effective at lowering LDL cholesterol levels and have few side effects. Statin drugs vary widely in cost and since most people must take the medicine for years, the cost adds up.

Three generic statin drugs are currently available: simvastatin, pravastatin, and lovastatin. These are generic versions of the brand-name drugs Zocor, Pravachol, and Mevacor. For most people, these generic options can provide the same level of cholesterol-lowering action as brand drugs but at a lower co-pay cost to you.

Examples of brand statin drugs include Crestor®, Lipitor® and Lescol®. Additionally, Vytorin™, a combination of two types of cholesterol-lowering drugs, is available. To achieve even greater LDL cholesterol reduction, statins are sometimes used in combination with other types of cholesterol-lowering drugs such as bile acid sequestrants (e.g., cholestyramine), fibric acids (e.g., fenofibrate, gemfibrozil), nicotinic acid (e.g., niacin) or Zetia®.

Talk to your doctor to find out if the lower cost generic drugs are right for you.

This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission .