Bezafibrate is a medication prescribed to reduce harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in cardiovascular patients. It is also effective in lowering the levels of triglycerides found in the blood. At the same time, the medication increases the levels of beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. It has been used with some success in the treatment of hepatitis C. For patients with impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, it is given to prevent the development of diabetes.
Normally, bezafibrate is used in conjunction with a diet and exercise plan to lower bad cholesterol levels, and it is not effective without adherence to the dietary plan. A diet low in fats should begin six weeks before the medication is started and continue throughout the time it is taken. The prescribing physician will recommend an appropriate exercise program for each patient taking this medicine.
Patients who begin therapy with bezafibrate report better cardiovascular health. Those who are prescribed bezafibrate after a heart attack and follow the diet and exercise plan have been shown to have less atherosclerosis and consequent morbidity than those on another medication regimen. The medicine is taken in tablet form daily until blood tests show consistent low LDL cholesterol levels. Some patients may need to take the medication for the duration of their lives to prevent further damage to their cardiovascular system.
Side effects have been noted in patients on this medication. Most patients notice gastrointestinal upsets during the first week of taking bezafibrate, but the nausea, gas, constipation, and abdominal pain should pass after a few days. A few patients report headaches and dizziness throughout the medication regimen. Other central nervous system side effects noticed by patients on bezafibrate therapy are insomnia and myalgia. Some people experience skin rashes and eczema for the duration of the prescription.
More serious side effects have also been reported, including impaired liver and kidney functions. During treatment, blood tests will be done to determine the health of the liver and the renal system. People with preexisting liver or renal diseases are not usually prescribed this medication. There is a possibility of muscle damage, or myopathy, while being treated with bezafibrate, therefore any muscle weakness or persistent aches and pains should be reported to a physician.
This medication may cause an adverse reaction when combined with certain medications, including blood thinners and antidepressants. Caution is recommended when taking birth control pills, estrogen, or cyclosporine antibiotics. The use of alcohol is contraindicated while taking this medication. Bezafibrate may be secreted in small amounts in breast milk and is not advised for pregnant or nursing mothers.