Generic Name: gemfibrozil (jem FYE broe zil)
Brand Names: Lopid
What is gemfibrozil?
Gemfibrozil helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides (fatty acids) in the blood. High levels of these types of fat in the blood are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries).
Gemfibrozil is used together with diet to treat very high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with pancreatitis.
Gemfibrozil is also used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in people with high cholesterol and triglycerides who have not been helped by other treatment methods.
Gemfibrozil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not take gemfibrozil if you have severe liver or kidney disease, gallbladder disease, or if you are also taking repaglinide or simvastatin (Zocor, Vytorin, Juvisync, Simcor).
Before taking this medicine
You should not use gemfibrozil if you are allergic to it, if you have:
severe liver disease;
severe kidney disease;
gallbladder disease; or
if you are also taking repaglinide or simvastatin (Zocor, Vytorin, Juvisync, Simcor).
To make sure gemfibrozil is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
a history of gallstones; or
if you take a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven).
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether gemfibrozil will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
It is not known whether gemfibrozil passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while taking gemfibrozil.
How should I take gemfibrozil?
Gemfibrozil is usually taken twice daily, 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner.
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Gemfibrozil is only part of a treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.
While using gemfibrozil, you may need frequent blood tests to check your liver function. Your kidney function may also need to be tested.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Gemfibrozil dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Hyperlipidemia:
600 mg orally twice a day, 30 minutes before the morning and evening meal.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking gemfibrozil?
Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Gemfibrozil will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may interfere with your treatment.
Gemfibrozil side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to gemfibrozil: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, gemfibrozil can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
sharp pain in your upper stomach (especially after eating);
jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes);
blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights;
little or no urinating; or
pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating, purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin.
Common gemfibrozil side effects may include:
mild stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea;
cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;
headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
mild itching or rash; or
loss of interest in sex, impotence.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect gemfibrozil?
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use. Certain other drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems, and it is very important that your doctor knows if you are using any of them:
a "statin" cholesterol-lowering medicine--atorvastatin (Lipitor, Caduet), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor), pitavastatin (Livalo), (pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin).
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with gemfibrozil, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about gemfibrozil
- Other brands: Lopid
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about gemfibrozil.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use gemfibrozil only for the indication prescribed.
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