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Pharmacy and Medications

Welchol versus Zocor

03/10/2011

Question:

Why would my cardiologist say I should be on Zocor instead of welchol. I have been on welchol for 10 yrs. prescribed by primary care dr.

Answer:

Welchol is a member of an older class of cholesterol lowering medication that work only in the digestive tract to help lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). Because it works in the digestive tract, common side effects include constipation and upset stomach. Welchol can lower LDL cholesterol by a maximum of 15-20%, but it does not have much of an effect on raising HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) or lowering triglycerides. 
 
Zocor on the other hand is a member of a class of drugs that help stop the production of LDL cholesterol and can also be beneficial in raising HDL cholesterol and decreasing triglycerides. Zocor can reduce LDL cholesterol by up to 47% and has also been found to reduce the incidence of heart attack and stroke. Therefore, Zocor shows more cholesterol lowering than Welchol and has other favorable cardiovascular effects.

Mary Klein, PharmD Candidate
March 9, 2011

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Response by:

David Baker, PharmD, DABAT
Formerly, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pharmacy
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University