Colesevelam (By mouth)

Introduction

Colesevelam Hydrochloride (koe-le-SEV-e-lam hye-droe-KLOR-ide)

Used together with diet and exercise to lower cholesterol levels in the blood and to treat type 2 diabetes.

Brand Name(s)

Welchol

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to colesevelam, or if you have a severe hypertriglyceridemia (very high triglyceride or fatty acids in the blood), or a history of bowel blockage or pancreatitis caused by hypertriglyceridemia. This medicine should not be used for patients with type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) or diabetic ketoacidosis (high ketones and acid in the blood).

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Take this medicine (tablet or liquid form) with a meal. Drink some kind of liquid (e.g., water, milk, or juice) when you swallow the tablet. Follow the instructions for mixing the powder for oral suspension.
  • You will need to mix the powder with water before taking it. Mix the powder with a half to one cup of water, fruit juice, or a diet soft drink. Stir well and drink right away.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about diet and exercise. This medicine is only part of a complete plan for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. .
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using birth control pills, cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®), glyburide (Micronase®), insulin, levothyroxine (Synthroid®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), vitamin supplements (A, D, E, K), or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®). These medicines should be taken at least 4 hours before taking colesevelam.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have trouble swallowing, ongoing problems with constipation or digestion, or a history of vitamin (A, D, E, K) deficiency or poor nutrition. Also tell your doctor if you have had surgery on your digestive system (stomach or bowels).
  • The oral powder for suspension contains phenylalanine. Tell your doctor if you have phenylketonuria (PKU) before taking this medicine.
  • Your doctor may want to measure the cholesterol levels in your blood on a regular basis to make sure this medicine is working properly. Be sure to keep all of your appointments. You will also need to check your blood sugar regularly at home.
  • Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are important in lowering your cholesterol and blood sugar levels and keeping them low. This medicine will help control your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, but it does not replace good eating habits and regular exercise.
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness. These may be symptoms of acute pancreatitis.
  • This medicine can cause constipation, and for some people this can be very uncomfortable. If you have problems with severe constipation while taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Headache, dizziness, or blurred vision
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and lightheadedness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Weakness, confusion, drowsiness, increased hunger, fast heartbeat, or shakiness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Constipation or upset stomach
  • Lack or loss of strength
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Tiredness

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
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