Cholesterol – medication and diseases that can increase your cholesterol levels


Prednisone is used to reduce the swelling, warmth, and tenderness associated with many inflammatory conditions. Despite the relief they may give to you, they can raise triglycerides, LDL cholesterol levels, and HDL cholesterol levels. Some patients had higher cholesterol levels within two weeks of treatment.

Beta Blockers

Beta-blockers are prescribed to treat high blood pressure. Beta-blockers also have been noted to decrease HDL levels and elevate triglyceride levels. In most cases, however, these lipid changes have been very small. It is important to note that not all beta-blockers have this effect.

  • Atenolol (Tenormin®)
  • Bisoprolol (Zebeta®)
  • Metoprolol(Toprol®, Lopressor®)
  • Nadolol (Corgard ®)
  • Propanolol (Inderal ®)

Beta-blockers not only help lower blood pressure, they also assist in the survival of individuals with heart disease like congestive heart failure and previous heart attack. If slight alterations of your lipids are observed, it is very important that beta-blockers be not discontinued.


Amiodarone is drug used to treat a variety of heart arrhythmias. One of the smaller sides. It can raise LDL cholesterol levels and has no effect on HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels.


Estrogen is a female sex hormone found in female hormonal birth control and in hormone replacement therapy. Recent studies have found that it can cause heart attacks. The mechanism by which it causes heart attacks is not known. Estrogens may also increase triglyceride levels.


Progestin is a form of progesterone, another female sex hormone, which is used in oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. Higher levels of progestin have been associated with lower HDL levels in patients.

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids include testosterone, the male sex hormone that is used to treat delayed puberty in boys and some forms of impotence. It is often used illegally to build muscle mass. These drugs can raise LDL levels and lower HDL levels.


Cyclosporine is a drug used to suppress the immune system. It is often used after an organ transplant in order to prevent rejection. It may also be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Studies have shown that cyclosporine can raise LDL cholesterol levels.

Protease Inhibitors

Protease inhibitors are used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The mechanism by which these drugs raise cholesterol levels is not known, they appear to especially raise triglyceride levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels


Diuretics are used to treat high blood pressure and water retention. There are two types of diuretics that can increased cholesterol levels:

  • Thiazide diuretics (including hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide, metolazone)
  • Loop diuretics (including furosemide, torsemide, bumetanide)

Thiazide diuretics can cause a temporary increase in total cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and LDL cholesterol levels.   HDL cholesterol levels are not typically affected. Now indipamide is the only thiazide diuretic that has not been shown to raise cholesterol levels. Loop diuretics share the same pattern as thiazide diuretics; however, some of these drugs have shown a slight decrease in HDL cholesterol.


These drugs are used to treat skin problems like acne, can cause slightly elevated cholesterol levels. They contain vitamin A and are known to cause problems with the liver, which produces cholesterol.


Tricyclics and mirtazapine antidepressants can increase cholesterol (i.e., triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol).

Some health conditions can also lead to abnormal cholesterol, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Pregnancy and other conditions that increase levels of female hormones
  • Underactive thyroid

Several disorders that are passed down through families lead to abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They include the following:

  • Familial combined hyperlipidaemia
  • Familial dysbetalipoproteinemia
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
  • Familial hypertriglyceridemia

Smoking can reduce your HDL (“good”) cholesterol

If you have elevated cholesterol and are using some of the above medication that can increase your cholesterol – please discuss with your doctor and or consider a natural alternative for cholesterol.

Cholesterol can be managed with lifestyle modification and natural remedies

We recommend Cholestin® to lower high LDL-cholesterol only if your lifestyle modification did not.


  • Hudig F et al. Amiodarone-induced hypercholesterolemia is associated with a decrease in liver LDL receptor mRNA. FEBS Lett 341(1):86-90.
  • Stone NJ. Secondary causes of hyperlipidaemia. Med Clin North Am 1994 Jan;78(1):117-41
  • Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (PDF), July 2004, The National Institutes of Health: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
  • Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2006 Jul;5(4):523-37.The effect of antidepressants on lipid homeostasis: a cardiac safety concern? McIntyre RS1, Soczynska JK, Konarski JZ, Kennedy SH.
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