Can a combination of these drugs lower my cholesterol even further?

In some cases doctors prescribe two or more drugs at a time. This is called combination therapy. Resins or plant fibers and the new margarines are sometimes given with statins, and their addition can produce a further decrease in LDL cholesterol levels of 20 to 25 percent. The further addition of niacin can produce yet another 15 to 20 percent decrease. The sum of these three types of drugs may result in a decrease in LDL cholesterol levels of up to 70 percent. But you should remember that each drug has its own possible array of side effects and these are now all added together. You should be carefully monitored by your health professional for any such adverse effects from the combination of these powerful drugs.

If I take one of these drugs, should I get my liver function checked? 

Yes. Your liver has many functions, one of which is to render nontoxic many harmful compounds that enter your system through food or air. When these detoxifying functions become stressed, some liver enzymes reach abnormal levels. Statins, niacin in large amounts, and the fibrates to a lesser extent can lead to abnormal levels of these enzymes, but you might not notice any specific symptoms. A simple blood test to check your liver function is done before you begin taking statins and usually twelve weeks after you start taking them or whenever your dose is increased. If you think something is not right with you, call your physician, who may decide to do a blood test for these liver enzymes. However, there is increasing evidence that moderate increases in these liver enzymes from use of cholesterol lowering drugs does not result in liver damage.

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