What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in our bodies. Normally, most people obtain 20% of cholesterol from what they eat, and the other 80% is made within the body by the liver. Cholesterol is crucial for healthy cell development, and is used to build cell membranes. There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol. LDL causes a build up of fats in the arteries, while HDL prevents the build-up of fats in the arteries.
Managing a healthy cholesterol level involves preventing total cholesterol levels from becoming too high. Excess cholesterol is deposited in the arteries, which causes them to narrow and become less efficient in pumping blood to the heart. This could eventually lead to a heart attack or other problems.
Testing for high cholesterol
To test for cholesterol levels, a type of blood test called a lipid profile can be taken. While collecting a lipid profile, blood will be drawn from a vein in the arm and taken for testing in a laboratory. Through this blood test, different amounts of HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood), as well as overall cholesterol, are measured. In Singapore, cholesterol levels are classified as below:
If high cholesterol levels are detected, lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol are normally the first steps suggested by the doctor. This includes changes such as implementing a healthier diet and regular exercise. In the event that lifestyle modifications do not help, the doctor will prescribe medication to help to manage cholesterol levels.
Can you get cholesterol medicine over the counter?
No, you cannot get cholesterol medicine over the counter in Singapore. This is because cholesterol medicine can only be obtained via a doctor’s prescription.
Where to get cholesterol medicine in Singapore?
You can get cholesterol medicine from local pharmacies, polyclinics, or public hospitals in Singapore. Remember to bring along your doctor’s prescription in order to purchase medicine.
Types of cholesterol medications
There are different types of medication to reduce cholesterol levels. Here are some of the commonly prescribed medications in Singapore. Remember to follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, as some medications may not be suitable for some people.
|Types of high cholesterol medication||Common brand names||What it does|
|Statins are presently the medication which has the best evidence for good cholesterol reduction. They work by reducing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver, and helps the liver to remove excess cholesterol from the blood.|
Most people can take stains without any side effects, but some are susceptible to the below possible effects:
|Fibrates work to lower a person’s amount of blood fat. They have a generally mild effect on lowering cholesterol levels.|
Side effects of using fibrates can include nausea, diarrhoea, and an upset stomach. Side effects are usually mild.
|Nicotinic acid (Niacin)||Olbetam|
|Niacin is a type of vitamin B. It has a mild effect on LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and can help lower triglycerides as well. However, it should only be consumed as prescribed by a doctor, as it can be harmful to the liver. |
Some possible side effects include:
- Upset stomach
|Combination calcium channel blocker and statins||Caduet||A combination of calcium channel blockers and statins are sometimes used in the treatment of high cholesterol. These can help with both cardiovascular disease and cholesterol management by lowering cholesterol levels and treating hypertension (high blood pressure) and coronary artery disease.|
Medication may be consumed in a single pill, or two different medications may be used to get the combinatory effects.
Side effects may include:
Cholesterol medicine prices in Singapore
What are the prices of medications? Here are some drugs available at the pharmacy and their price ranges. Do note there are some medications which you cannot get over the counter, and may have to obtain via prescription or a doctor’s request.
|Drug Type||Brand Name||Drug Name||Dose Types||Price Range per Pill (SGD)|
|Statins||Lipitor||Atorvastatin||10 - 80 mg||2.50 - 8.95|
|Lescol||Fluvastatin||20 - 80 mg||1.85 - 4.10|
|-*||Lovastatin||20 mg||0.50 - 1.85|
|-||Pravastatin||10 - 20 mg||1.30 - 2.10|
|Crestor||Rosuvastatin||10 - 20 mg||3.04 - 4.80|
|Vytorin||Simvastatin||10 - 20 mg||3.80 - 5.15|
|-||Simvastatin||10 - 20 mg||0.47 - 1.50|
|Zocor||Simvastatin||5 - 40 mg||2.00 - 4.35|
|Niaspan||Nicotinic Acid tablet||375 - 1000 mg||1.50 - 1.80|
|Combination calcium channel blocker and statins||Caduet||Atorvastatin Calcium 10 mg Amlodipine Besylate tablets||Amlodipine Besylate 5 - 10 mg||3.90 - 4.90|
|Caduet||Atorvastatin Calcium 20 mg Amlodipine Besylate tablets||Amlodipine Besylate 5 - 10 mg||4.05 - 4.80|
|Fibrates||-||Cholestyramine||4 g per sachet||1.60 - 1.85|
|Modalim||Ciprofibrate||100 mg||1.60 - 1.75|
|Apo-Feno-Micro||Fenofibrate||200 mg||0.85 - 1.10|
|Lipanthyl Penta 145||Fenofibrate||145 mg||1.75 - 2.00|
|Generic-Ipolipid||Gemfibrozil||300, 600 mg||0.35 - 0.90|
* ‘-’ means that there are many generic brands out there for this drug, and the prices across these brands are comparable.
As a home care provider, Homage can support you or your loved one with daily living activities at home by preparing light meals, giving medication reminders so that you do not miss a dose of your cholesterol medication, providing companionship, and more.
To learn how we can help, fill in the form below for a free consultation with our Care Advisory team.
1. 2020 Hyperlipidemia Compiled Price – Pharmaceutical Society Singapore. (2021). https://www.pss.org.sg/sites/default/files/Price_list/2020_hyperlipidemia_compiled_price_list.pdf
2. Cholesterol Management. (n.d.). https://www.singhealth.com.sg/patient-care/conditions-treatments/cholesterol-management
3. Fletcher, J. (2022, July 29). Everything to know about cholesterol medications. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cholesterol-medications
4. Francis, R. E. N. (2022, May 30). High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia): Symptoms, Causes & Medication. Homage. https://www.homage.sg/health/hyperlipidemia/[/references]