Medications That Raise Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is originated from food and your liver, which synthesizes cholesterol for use by cellular membranes and production of sex hormones and other drugs in your body.

Chart: Medications That Raise Cholesterol Levels

Drug class Example
Prednisone corticosteroids
Beta Blockers
  • Atenolol (Tenormin ®)
  • Bisoprolol (Zebeta ®)
  • Metoprolol (Toprol ®, Lopressor ®). Nadolol (Corgard ®).
  • Propanolol (Inderal ®)
Amiodarone Amiodarone
Estrogen hormonal agent
Progestin progesterone
Anabolic Steroids testosterone
Cyclosporine Cyclosporine (Sandimmune ®, Neoral ®, Gengraf ®
Protease Inhibitors Fibrates and statins
  • Thiazide diuretics (consisting of hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide, metolazone).
  • Loop diuretics (consisting of furosemide, torsemide, bumetanide).

High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for developing heart disease. Medications have side effects that might raise your cholesterol levels. This can be harmful if you have high cholesterol, heart disease or diabetes. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects from your medications.


Prednisone is a prescription drug in a class of medications called corticosteroids that minimize inflammation of cells and tissues in lupus, arthritis, asthma and other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. These chronic illness often require long-lasting treatment with drugs, consisting of prednisone. Nevertheless, prednisone can raise your levels of blood cholesterol and fat. This can enhance your risk for atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by narrowing of your arteries by plaque made from cholesterol and hydrogenated fat. Taking high dosages of prednisone for an extended period of time can enhance these threats much more. Taking lower dosages of prednisone for brief amount of times may reduce the intensity of side effects from the drug.


Which Drugs Can Raise Your Cholesterol Levels?

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers are medications that are generally recommended to treat high blood pressure. Despite the substantial benefits, they provide in alleviating numerous forms of heart disease, beta blockers also have been kept in mind to decrease HDL levels and raise triglyceride levels.

In many cases, nevertheless, these lipid changes have actually been really little. It is very important to note that not all beta blockers have this impact. The following beta blockers have been noted to somewhat modify lipid profiles:

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

Beta-blockers not just assist lower blood pressure, they also are instrumental in lengthening the survival of people with active heart disease (such as congestive heart failure and previous cardiovascular disease). Therefore, even if small modifications of your lipids are observed, it is extremely important that beta blockers are not stopped.


Amiodarone is a substance abuse to treat a variety of heart arrhythmias and is associated with a large range of side effects. Among the smaller side effects is connected to high cholesterol. Amiodarone primarily raises LDL cholesterol levels but does not appear to have a result on HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels.


Estrogen is a female sex hormonal agent discovered in female hormonal birth control and in other forms of hormonal agent replacement therapy. For several years, estrogen had been considered “cardioprotective,” thus promoting a healthy heart. This is primarily due its capability to raise HDL levels. This caused numerous post-menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy to assist their heart.

Nevertheless, recent researches have discovered that it does not protect against heart disease after menopause. The mechanism by which it causes heart attacks is unknown. Additionally, estrogens might likewise enhance triglyceride levels.


Progestin is a form of progesterone, another female sex hormonal agent, which is used in oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy alone or in combination with estrogen. Greater levels of progestin have been associated with lower HDL levels. In mix with estrogen, progestin might counteract the healthy impact estrogen has in raising HDL levels.

Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids include testosterone, the male sex hormonal agent that is used to treat delayed adolescence in boys and some forms of impotence. It is likewise used unlawfully to build muscle mass. These drugs raise LDL levels and lower HDL levels. The harmful effects this drug has towards cholesterol levels are more obvious in the oral medications in comparison to the injectable medications.


Cyclosporine (Sandimmune ®, Neoral ®, Gengraf ® )is a substance abuse to reduce the immune system. It is typically used after an organ transplant in order to avoid rejection. Nevertheless, it may also be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Researches have actually shown that cyclosporine raises LDL cholesterol levels.

Protease Inhibitors

Protease inhibitors are used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Although the mechanism by which these drugs raise cholesterol levels is not known, they appear to particularly raise triglyceride levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels. Fibrates and statins are often used to lower triglycerides and enhance HDL levels in individuals taking these medications.


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

  • Thiazide diuretics (consisting of hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide, metolazone).
  • Loop diuretics (consisting of furosemide, torsemide, bumetanide).

Thiazide diuretics cause a temporary increase in total cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and LDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol levels are not normally impacted. This increase may vary in between 5 to 10 milligrams per deciliter. Presently, indapamide is the only thiazide diuretic that has actually not been revealed to negatively impact lipid levels. Loop diuretics share the same pattern as thiazide diuretics; however, some of these drugs have actually revealed a slight reduction in HDL cholesterol. Considering that diuretics are extremely important in the treatment of lowering high blood pressure, your healthcare provider might likewise place you on a low-fat diet while you are on this medication.

If you have high cholesterol levels and are taking a medication that could potentially raise your lipid levels even more, your healthcare provider might want to monitor your blood periodically to make sure that your lipid levels are not expensive. Sometimes, the adverse result on lipids may be just temporary. However, if they continue to be high after treatment starts, your doctor may choose to add or customize your cholesterol-lowering therapy.



Updated: August 16, 2016 — 11:32 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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