Controlling hyperlipidemia is an important aspect in the treatment and prevention of coronary artery disease. This article provides the clinician with a general reference for currently used lipid-lowering agents. Lipoproteins present in the plasma are defined and a brief overview of their functions is presented. Normal lipid uptake from the intestine and normal lipid metabolism are discussed to provide a basis for an understanding of the pharmaceutical treatment of hyperlipidemia. Guidelines are reviewed for interpreting lipid profiles according to the National Cholesterol Education Program. An evaluation of the agents currently used to treat hyperlipidemia is included. Lipid-lowering agents cause alterations in liver function; therefore, patients taking these medications are monitored closely. Patient teaching, including adverse effects of the medications, diet therapy and other alterable risk factors, is also reviewed

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