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Generic Name: cholestyramine

It is used to lower cholesterol in patients who are at risk of heart disease or stroke
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What is this medicine?

CHOLESTYRAMINE (koe LESS tir a meen) is used to lower cholesterol in patients who are at risk of heart disease or stroke. This medicine is only for patients whose cholesterol level is not controlled by diet.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • blocked bile duct
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to cholestyramine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Do not take this medicine in the dry form. It must be mixed with a liquid before swallowing. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Place the powder in a glass or cup. Add between 2 and 6 ounces of fluid. This can be water, milk, pulpy fruit juice, fluid soup, or other liquid. Mix well and drink all of the liquid. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • diuretics
  • female hormones, like estrogens or progestins and birth control pills
  • heart medicines such as digoxin or digitoxin
  • penicillin G
  • phenobarbital
  • phenylbutazone
  • phytonadione
  • propranolol
  • tetracycline antibiotics
  • thyroid hormones
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin E
  • warfarin

Take other drugs at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after this medicine, to avoid decreasing their absorption.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Your blood fats and other tests will be measured from time to time.

This medicine is only part of a total cholesterol-lowering program. Your health care professional or dietician can suggest a low-cholesterol and low-fat diet that will reduce your risk of getting heart and blood vessel disease. Avoid alcohol and smoking, and keep a proper exercise schedule.

To reduce the chance of getting constipated, drink plenty of water and increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Ask your doctor or health care professional for advice if you are constipated.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • bloody or black, tarry stools
  • severe stomach pain with nausea and vomiting
  • unusual bleeding

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • constipation or diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • heartburn, indigestion
  • nausea, vomiting
  • perianal irritation

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
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Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.
 
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