Should You Use Generic Cholesterol Medications?

If not, you have other options for saving money

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If you take cholesterol medication, the monthly cost can add up, especially if it's not available in a generic (unbranded) form. Your overall costs can grow even more if you take medications for other conditions besides your high cholesterol, such as diabetes.

The good news is that many cholesterol medications are available as cheaper generic versions. Here, you'll find a list of generic cholesterol medications, including statins and non-statin drugs that can lower cholesterol.

Fish oil pills on counter
Cathy Scola / Getty Images

Types of Generic Cholesterol Medications

Many different types of cholesterol medications are available, and most of them have generic versions. They all work to lower cholesterol levels in the blood

Statins are a popular cholesterol medication, but non-statin medication options may also work for you. Below, you'll find a generic cholesterol medication list.


Statins are the most common medications used to lower cholesterol. They lower cholesterol levels in the blood by blocking an enzyme that makes cholesterol in your body.

Statins help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.

Generic statins include:

  • Simvastatin (generic Zocor)
  • Atorvastatin (generic Lipitor)
  • Rosuvastatin (generic Crestor)
  • Fluvastatin (generic Lescol)
  • Lovastatin (generic Mevacor)
  • Pravastatin (generic Pravachol)

Non-Statin Cholesterol Medications

In rare instances, statins may not be right for you.

In that case, your healthcare provider may prescribe an alternative non-statin cholesterol medication, such as one of the following:

  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: Ezetimibe (generic Zetia)
  • Fibrates: Fenofibrate (generic Antara, Tricor), gemfibrozil (generic Lopid), or clofibrate (generic Atromid-S)
  • PCSK9 inhibitors: Alirocumab (generic Praluent), evolocumab (generic Repatha)
  • Bile acid sequestrants: Colesevelam (generic Welchol), colestipol (generic Colestid), or cholestyramine (generic Questran)
  • Omega -3 fatty acids: Icosapent ethyl (generic Vascepa)
  • Niacin: Niaspan (generic Niacin ER)
  • Bempedoic acid: Nexletol

Benefits and Uses

Cholesterol medications help lower LDL cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol itself has no symptoms, but you don't take the medication to prevent the symptoms of cholesterol. You take it to prevent the development of heart disease.

Even if you're concerned about the cost of your cholesterol medication, remember why you're taking it, and don't stop unless your healthcare provider says it's alright.

Going off your medication and allowing your cholesterol level to rise again can increase your risk for heart disease and even a heart attack, which costs far more to treat than the price of your cholesterol-lowering medication.

Cost Savings

 If your medication isn't available in generic form or if you have trouble paying for it, there are several options that may help you save money.

Ask about cheaper options

Talk with your healthcare provider about less costly options. Your doctor may be able to:

  • Switch you to a cheaper cholesterol medication, either a generic or a brand-name product with a lower price
  • Offer you samples of the brand-name form of the medication
  • Give you a voucher from the drug company to buy the brand-name medication at a lower cost

Ask about cutting higher-dose pills in half

It may be possible to buy your medication in a form that’s twice your prescribed dose and then cut the pills in half to take them.

For instance, if you take simvastatin 40 milligrams (mg) every day, your healthcare provider may prescribe simvastatin 80 mg, with dosing specified as a one-half pill taken daily.

It's important to note that this isn't an option for every cholesterol medication.

Call the drug company

If there's no generic version available, try calling the company that makes your cholesterol medication. Some drug companies have prescription assistance programs that may allow you to get your medication at no or minimal cost.

Check your pharmacy for discounts

Ask your pharmacy for ways to make your cholesterol medication cheaper. Some pharmacies offer discount programs on medicine.

Also, medication prices can differ from one pharmacy to another. Check around to find the lowest price in your area.

Ask about over-the-counter (OTC) products

If you take prescription omega-3 fatty acids (Lovaza) or extended-release niacin (Niacor) to lower your cholesterol, talk with your healthcare provider about taking an over-the-counter version.

Fish oil and niacin products available over-the-counter are not therapeutically equivalent to their prescription counterparts. However, if your healthcare provider says you can take one or more of them, they may be able to help you lower your cholesterol while costing less overall.

Although over-the-counter products are widely available and cheaper than prescription cholesterol medications, they may not be right for everyone.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Heart Association. Cholesterol medications.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cholesterol-lowering medicine.

  3. Ito MK. A comparative overview of prescription omega-3 fatty acid products. P T. 2015;40(12):826-57. PMID: 26681905

By Jennifer Moll, PharmD
Jennifer Moll, MS, PharmD, is a pharmacist actively involved in educating patients about the importance of heart disease prevention.