Generic Name: cholestyramine (koe le STYE ra meen)
Brand Name: Cholestyramine Light, Prevalite, Questran, ...show all 9 brand namesQuestran Light, Locholest, Locholest Light, Questran Light Packets, Prevalite Packets, Questran Packets
Medically reviewed on March 10, 2017
What is cholestyramine?
Cholestyramine is used to lower high levels of cholesterol in the blood, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ("bad" cholesterol).
Cholestyramine powder is also used to treat itching caused by a blockage in the bile ducts of the gallbladder.
Cholestyramine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medicine if you have a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
Wait at least 4 to 6 hours after taking cholestyramine before you take any other medications.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use cholestyramine if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
a blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines).
To make sure cholestyramine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
a thyroid disorder;
liver disease; or
coronary artery disease (clogged arteries).
This medicine may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using cholestyramine if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).
Taking cholestyramine can make it harder for your body to absorb certain vitamins. Your doctor may recommend you take a vitamin supplement.
You may have an even greater need for vitamin supplements during pregnancy or while you are breast-feeding a baby. Follow your doctor's instructions about taking vitamin supplements during treatment with cholestyramine.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
How should I take cholestyramine?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Although cholestyramine is usually taken once or twice per day, this medicine may be taken up to 6 times per day. Carefully follow your doctor's dosing instructions.
Mix the cholestyramine powder with at least 2 to 3 ounces of water or other non-carbonated beverage. You may also mix the powder with a brothy soup, crushed pineapple, or applesauce. Measure the powder using the scoop provided with your medication. Do not use any other scoop or measuring cup to measure your cholestyramine dose.
Cholestyramine works best if you take it with meals. However, your dosing schedule may depend on when you need to take any other medications. Cholestyramine should not be taken within 1 hour after or 4 hours before you take other medications.
Use cholestyramine regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Cholestyramine can affect the surfaces of your teeth. Sipping the cholestyramine/liquid mixture slowly or holding the liquid in your mouth for too long may result in tooth discoloration, enamel erosion, or tooth decay. Be sure to brush your teeth regularly while you are using this medicine.
Drink extra fluids to prevent constipation while you are taking cholestyramine.
While using cholestyramine, you may need frequent blood tests.
Cholestyramine is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
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.
Overdose symptoms may include severe stomach pain or constipation.
What should I avoid while taking cholestyramine?
Avoid taking other medications at the same time you take cholestyramine. Wait at least 4 to 6 hours after taking cholestyramine before you take any other medications.
Cholestyramine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
ongoing or worsening constipation;
severe stomach pain;
blood in your urine;
black, bloody, or tarry stools; or
easy bruising, unusual bleeding.
Side effects such as constipation may be more likely in older adults.
Common side effects may include:
mild constipation, diarrhea;
stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite;
bloating or gas;
irritation of your tongue; or
itching or irritation around your rectal area.
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 cholestyramine?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
a diuretic or "water pill";
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with cholestyramine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01.
More about cholestyramine
- Cholestyramine Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
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- Drug class: bile acid sequestrants