Cholestyramine Light Side Effects

Generic Name: cholestyramine

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of cholestyramine. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Cholestyramine Light.

Not all side effects for Cholestyramine Light may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to cholestyramine: oral powder for suspension, oral tablet

In some animal studies, cholestyramine (the active ingredient contained in Cholestyramine Light) was found to cause tumors. It is not known whether cholestyramine causes tumors in humans.

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by cholestyramine. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking cholestyramine:

Rare
  • Black, tarry stools
  • stomach pain (severe) with nausea and vomiting

If any of the following side effects occur while taking cholestyramine, check with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

More common
  • Constipation
Rare
  • Loss of weight (sudden)

Some of the side effects that can occur with cholestyramine may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain
Less common
  • Belching
  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to cholestyramine: compounding powder, oral powder for reconstitution

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects include constipation (28%), heartburn (17%), belching or bloating (11%), nausea (9%), eructation, anorexia, steatorrhea, hemorrhoids, rectal pain and irritation, diverticulitis, and bleeding from a known duodenal ulcer. Intestinal obstruction and pancreatitis are also reported in the literature.

Gastrointestinal side effects occur in the majority of patients treated with cholestyramine. Constipation is most common and can be severe. Intestinal obstruction has been reported in pediatric patients. Elderly patients are probably at risk for this as well. In one large study, gastrointestinal side effects diminished with continued therapy. If gastrointestinal side effects are significant, dosage reductions, even if temporary, may be beneficial.

Metabolic

Metabolic side effects include hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis, weight loss, and weight gain. Cholestyramine (the active ingredient contained in Cholestyramine Light) has been reported to decrease the absorption of thyroxine (T4).

Hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis has been reported in pediatric as well as adult patients. Onset of clinical illness ranged from days to several weeks after beginning cholestyramine therapy. In three out of four adult cases in the literature, spironolactone was used as concomitant therapy. Several patients had moderate underlying renal disease. With appropriate supportive care, correction of the acidosis, and discontinuation of cholestyramine, the patients recovered.

The mechanism by which cholestyramine causes metabolic acidosis has not been completely resolved. However, it may involve the release of chloride ions by cholestyramine (a chloride salt form) in addition to binding of bicarbonate and carbonate ions to the resin, creating a metabolic imbalance. Patients with impaired renal function may be at increased risk due to impairment of chloride elimination.

Hematologic

Hematologic side effects include rare cases of elevated prothrombin time, ecchymoses, and anemia.

Hepatic

Hepatic side effects of cholestyramine (the active ingredient contained in Cholestyramine Light) include rare cases of abnormal liver function tests although causality is unknown. In addition, calcification in the right upper quadrant and of the biliary tree has been reported, as has biliary colic.

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects include asthma, wheezing, and shortness of breath although causality is unknown.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects include headache, anxiety, vertigo, dizziness, syncope, drowsiness, femoral nerve pain, and paresthesia although causality is unknown.

Renal

Renal side effects include hematuria, dysuria, burnt odor to the urine, and diuresis, as well as a case report of urethral calculi composed of uric acid.

Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity in the form of urticaria has been reported.

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal side effects include osteoporosis, muscle and joint pain, muscle weakness, arthritis, and osteomalacia.

Other

Loss of dental enamel has been reported when cholestyramine (the active ingredient contained in Cholestyramine Light) was mixed with a relatively acidic liquid (in the case-report Kool-Aid was used).

Ocular

Ocular side effects include uveitis although causality is unknown.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

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