Welchol Side Effects
Generic Name: colesevelam
Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug colesevelam. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Welchol.
It is possible that some side effects of Welchol may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.
For the Consumer
Applies to colesevelam: oral powder for suspension, oral tablet
As well as its needed effects, colesevelam (the active ingredient contained in Welchol) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.
If any of the following side effects occur while taking colesevelam, check with your doctor immediately:Less common
- blurred vision
- cold sweats
- cool, pale skin
- dry or sore throat
- fast heartbeat
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- increased hunger
- joint pain
- loss of appetite
- muscle aches or pain
- pounding in the ears
- runny nose
- slow or fast heartbeat
- slurred speech
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- trouble with sleeping
- trouble with swallowing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- voice changes
- Bleeding after defecation
- darkened urine
- difficulty with swallowing
- pain or discomfort in the chest
- pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- pressure in the stomach
- severe stomach pain
- swelling of the abdominal or stomach area
- unable to swallow saliva
- uncomfortable swelling around the anus
- yellow eyes or skin
Some colesevelam side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:More common
- Acid or sour stomach
- full or bloated feeling
- pain or cramping in the abdomen or stomach
- stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
- Lack or loss of strength
- stuffy nose
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to colesevelam: oral powder for reconstitution, oral tablet
Cardiovascular side effects including hypertension, myocardial infarction, aortic stenosis, and bradycardia have been reported in 3% of patients.
Gastrointestinal side effects have included flatulence (12%), constipation (8.7% to 11%), dyspepsia (3.9% to 8%), diarrhea (5%), and nausea (3% to 4%). Bowel obstruction (in patients with a history of bowel obstruction or resection), dysphagia or esophageal obstruction (occasionally requiring medical intervention), fecal impaction, pancreatitis, abdominal distension, exacerbation of hemorrhoids, and increased transaminases have been reported in postmarketing experience.[Ref]
Immunologic side effects have included infection (10%).[Ref]
In the lipid-lowering trials, 807 patients received at least one dose of colesevelam (the active ingredient contained in Welchol) therapy (total exposure 199 patient-years). In the type 2 diabetes trials, 566 patients received at least one dose of colesevelam therapy (total exposure 209 patient years). In clinical trials for the reduction of LDL-C, 68% of patients receiving colesevelam therapy versus 64% of patients receiving placebo reported an adverse event. In clinical trials of type 2 diabetes, 60% of patients receiving colesevelam therapy versus 56% of patients receiving placebo reported an adverse event.[Ref]
Respiratory side effects have included nasopharyngitis (4%), pharyngitis (3%), rhinitis (3%), sinusitis (2%), and increased cough (2%).[Ref]
Musculoskeletal side effects have included myalgia (2%).[Ref]
Metabolic side effects have included hypoglycemia (3%). Hypertriglyceridemia has been reported in postmarketing experience.[Ref]
Nervous system side effects have included headache (6%), pain (6%), and back pain (3%).
Other side effects have included abdominal pain (5%), accidental injury (4%), asthenia (4%), and flu syndrome (3%).
1. "Product Information. Welchol (colsevelam)" Southwood Pharmaceuticals Inc, Lake Forest, CA.
2. Davidson MH, Dillon MA, Gordon B, Jones P, Samuels J, Weiss S, Isaacsohn J, Toth P, Burke SK "Colesevelam hydrochloride (Cholestagel) - A new, potent bile acid sequestrant associated with a low incidence of gastrointestinal side effects." Arch Intern Med 159 (1999): 1893-900
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