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Colesevelam (By mouth)

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

Lowers cholesterol levels and treats type 2 diabetes.

Brand Name(s):

Welchol

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to colesevelam, or if you have a history of bowel blockage, severe hypertriglyceridemia (high fat levels in the blood), or pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas) caused by hypertriglyceridemia.

How to Use This Medicine:

Bar, Liquid, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about diet to lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Take this medicine with a meal and liquid.
  • Powder: Mix the powder with one cup (8 ounces) of water, fruit juice, or a diet soft drink. Stir well and drink right away.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Some medicines can affect how colesevelam works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Cyclosporine, glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, levothyroxine, olmesartan, phenytoin
    • Birth control pills containing ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone
    • Vitamin supplements
    Take these medicines at least 4 hours before you use colesevelam.
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using aspirin, atenolol, cephalexin, ciprofloxacin, digoxin, enalapril, fenofibrate, lovastatin, metformin, metoprolol, pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, quinidine, repaglinide, sitagliptin, valproic acid, verapamil, or warfarin.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have trouble swallowing, digestion problems (including ongoing problems with constipation), phenylketonuria (PKU), or a history of vitamin A, D, E, or K deficiency. Tell your doctor if you had stomach or bowel surgery.
  • This medicine may cause the following problems:
    • Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas)
    • Stomach or bowel blockage
  • Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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, body aches
  • Headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision
  • Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, severe constipation, dark urine, yellow skin or eyes
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Weakness, confusion, drowsiness, increased hunger, fast heartbeat, shakiness

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

  • Loss of strength
  • Runny or stuffy nose

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


Last Updated: 1/7/2020

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