Colestipol Side Effects

Not all side effects for colestipol 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 colestipol: oral powder for suspension, oral tablet

Along with its needed effects, colestipol may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking colestipol:

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

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur while taking colestipol:

More common
  • Constipation
  • Loss of weight (sudden)

Some side effects of colestipol may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

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

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to colestipol: oral granule for reconstitution, oral tablet


Gastrointestinal side effects occur in the majority of patients. In one study, up to 68% of patients complained of gastrointestinal side effects. Constipation is most common and can be severe. Intestinal obstruction is reported with another bile acid sequestrant; elderly and pediatric patients treated with colestipol may be at risk for this as well. Increases in fluid intake as well as dietary fiber may help to reduce the severity of constipation. In general, gastrointestinal side effects tend to diminish with continued therapy. If gastrointestinal side effects are significant, dosage reduction, even if temporary, may be beneficial.

Gastrointestinal side effects include constipation (10 to 28%), heartburn (17%), abdominal discomfort (11%), nausea (9%), belching, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. Peptic ulceration, gastrointestinal irritation and bleeding, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, and anorexia have been reported rarely.


Hematologic side effects include a single report of prolonged prothrombin time responsive to vitamin K supplementation.


Hepatic side effects include transient elevations in serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase and alkaline phosphatase.

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects include headache, dizziness, and, very rarely, anxiety, vertigo, and drowsiness.


Hypersensitivity reactions have included urticaria and dermatitis.


Musculoskeletal side effects include rare reports of muscle pain, joint pain, and arthritis.


Metabolic side effects include increases in serum phosphorus and chloride and decreases in serum sodium and potassium. Colestipol has been reported to decrease the absorption of thyroxine (T4).

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