Discover Zetia Side Effects


What is Zetia?

Zetia (ezetimibe) is a lipid-lowering drug used in the treatment of high cholesterol. Zetia side effects are discussed below:

Zetia Side Effects

For such a widely used drug, the question of its effectiveness in treating high cholesterol in comparison to the side effects of Zetia is still very much in the air (1). Is the benefit of the drug worth Zetia’s side effects?

Zetia side effects that have been found to date are:

  1. Liver enzyme abnormalities/ increase
  2. Arthralgia (painful joints)
  3. Upper respiratory tract infection (URTI)
  4. Diarrhea
  5. Sinusitis
  6. Myalgia (muscle pain)
  7. Fatigue
  8. Dizziness
  9. Headaches
  10. Back pain
  11. Pain in extremities

In 2006, 3 years after the release of Zetia for use, a medical study called Enhance, warned about the Zetia side effects caused on the liver. Zeta side effects are listed by Canadian and Australian regulators as potentially causing, pancreatitis, depression, and hepatitis, however, the F.D.A in the U.S does not mention these side effects of Zetia (4) The same study showed that the benefits of Zetia for lowering cholesterol were inconclusive.

Merck & Schering Plough the manufacturers of the drug report the following side effects of Zetia when taken along with a statin:

  1. myopathy and rhabdomyolysis (rapid cellular death of muscle tissue)
  2. Liver enzyme abnormalities (increased by up to 3 times safe rates)
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Upper respiratory tract infection
  5. Arthralgia

And also confirmed the Zetia side effects mentioned above can occur when taking the medicine alone:

  1. Upper respiratory tract infection
  2. Dizziness
  3. Arthralgia
  4. Sinusitis
  5. Pain in extremities
  6. Increased liver enzymes

Hypersensitivity side effects of Zetia:

This is information regarding the Zetia side-effects caused by hypersensitivity to the drug, many symptoms were reported after drug trial periods, perhaps suggesting the side effects of Zetia and hypersensitivity may be cumulative and increase with prolonged use.

  1. Abdominal pain
  2. Anaphylaxis (allergic reaction causing closure of airways)
  3. swelling (face, tongue, throat)
  4. difficulty breathing
  5. Angioedema (fluid on heart)
  6. Pancreatitis
  7. Paresthesia (pins and needles, numbness)
  8. Depression
  9. Rash (erythema multiforme, urticaria, hives)
  10. Myalgia (muscle aches)
  11. Arthralgia (joint pain)
  12. hepatitis (liver inflammation)
  13. headache
  14. cholecystitis (inflammation of bile duct, gallbladder)
  15. nausea

Medical professionals are agreed that no one can effectively judge the safety of Zetia without more data. The ideal research information on Zetia side effects would be from a study with around 10,000 people over several years. The manufacturers only began this research in 2005, three years after the drug was approved for use. The data concerning the side effects of Zetia is not expected to be available until 2012. 


  1. Berenson, A. (2007)Data About Zetia Risks Was Not Fully Revealed; The New York Times [Available At:]
  2. (2009) Zetia Side Effects: Drug Information Online [Available At:]
  3. (2010) Side Effects of Zetia; Online: [Available at:]
  4. Levine & Slavit (2008) Drug Makers Fail To Disclose Zetia’s Serious Health Risks; Online: [Available at:]
  5. Merck-Scherring Plough (2009) Highlights of prescription information; Online: [Available at:]

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