Health Guide

Plant sterols and stanols

What is it?

Plant Sterols and Stanols are mainly used to lower high cholesterol. They are also used to treat the prostate when it grows large (benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)). Plant Sterols and Stanols have been used to treat cancer, tuberculosis, and gallstones.

Other names for Plant Sterols and Stanols include: 24-ethyl-cholesterol, 24-methyl-cholesterol, Beta-sitosterin, Beta-sitosterol, Beta-sitosterolin, Phytosterols, Sitosterin, Sitosterol, Sterolines, Benecol, Campestanol, Phytostanols, Sitostanol.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have a fat storage disease that runs in families called sitosterolemia
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Plant Sterols and Stanols you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Plant Sterols and Stanols. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.


  • Do not use Plant Sterols and Stanols if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you have sitosterolemia.

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine or if you have any of the following problems.

  • You have indigestion, fullness, gas, constipation, or diarrhea (1-4,6)


1. Anon: Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie e.V.: Rote Liste. Editio Cantor, Aulendorf, 1991.

2. Berges RR, Kassen A and Senge T: Treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia with beta-sitosterol: an 18-month follow-up. BJU Int 2000(85):842-846.

3. Fachinformation: Azuprostat (R) M, beta-sitosterin. Azupharma GmbH, Stuttgart, 1996.

4. Fachinformation: Harzol (R), beta-sitosterin. Hoyer GmbH and Co, Neuss, 1992.

5. Hallikainen MA, Sarkkinen ES and Uusitupa MI: Effects of low-fat stanol ester enriched margarine on concentrations of serum carotenoids in subjects with elevated serum cholesterol concentrations. Eur J Clin Nutr 1999; 53:966-969.

6. Klippel KF, Hiltl DM and Schipp B: A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Br J Urol 1997; 80:427-432.

7. Law M: Plant sterol and stanol margarines and health. BMJ 2000; 320(7238):861-864.

8. Nigon F, Serfaty-Lacrosniere C, Beucler I et al: Plant sterol-enriched margarine lowers plasma LDL in hyperlipidemic subjects with low cholesterol intake: effect of fibrate treatment. Clin Chem Lab Med 2001; 39(7):634-640.

9. Relas H, Gylling H and Miettinen TA: Acute effect of dietary stanyl ester dose on post-absorptive alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, retinol and retinyl palmitate concentrations. Br J Nutr 2001; 85(2):141-147.

10. Wilt TJ, MacDonald R and Ishani A: Beta-sitosterol for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review. BJU Int of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review. BJU Int 1999; 83:976-983.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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