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Colesevelam

Why is this medication prescribed?

Colesevelam is used with exercise and diet changes (restriction of cholesterol and fat intake) to reduce the amount of cholesterol and certain fatty substances in your blood. It works by binding bile acids in your intestines. Bile acids are made when cholesterol is broken down in your body. Removing these bile acids helps to lower your blood cholesterol. Accumulation of cholesterol and fats along the walls of your arteries (a process known as atherosclerosis) decreases blood flow and, therefore, the oxygen supply to your heart, brain, and other parts of your body. Lowering your blood level of cholesterol and fats may help to prevent heart disease, angina (chest pain), strokes, and heart attacks. Colesevelam may be used alone or in combination with other lipid-lowering medications known as statins (atorvastatin [Lipitor], cerivastatin [Baycol], lovastatin [Mevacor], pravastatin [Pravachol], or simvastatin [Zocor]).

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Colesevelam comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once or twice a day with meals and liquid. Your doctor will tell you how many tablets to take at each dose. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take colesevelam exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your lipid levels should lower within 2 weeks. Colesevelam lowers your lipid levels but does not cure high cholesterol. Continue to take colesevelam even if you feel well. Do not stop taking colesevelam without talking to your doctor.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking colesevelam,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to colesevelam or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially sustained-release formulations of verapamil (Calan SR) and vitamins and herbal products.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had gastrointestinal problems, especially bowel obstruction or difficulty swallowing foods, triglyceride levels greater than 300 mg/dl, bleeding problems, and low levels of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, E, and K).
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking colesevelam, call your doctor.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Eat a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet. This kind of diet includes cottage cheese, fat-free milk, fish (not canned in oil), vegetables, poultry, egg whites, and polyunsaturated oils and margarines (corn, safflower, canola, and soybean oils). Avoid foods with excess fat in them such as meat (especially liver and fatty meat), egg yolks, whole milk, cream, butter, shortening, lard, pastries, cakes, cookies, gravy, peanut butter, chocolate, olives, potato chips, coconut, cheese (other than cottage cheese), coconut oil, palm oil, and fried foods.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from colesevelam can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • gas
  • constipation
  • upset stomach
  • headache
  • weakness
  • muscle pain
  • throat infection

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to colesevelam.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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