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Generic Name: colesevelam (KOE le SEV e lam)
Brand Name: Welchol

Medically reviewed by on Jun 25, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is Welchol?

Welchol is used to treat high cholesterol in adults and children at least 10 years old.

Welchol lowers "bad" cholesterol in the blood, which is also called LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Lowering your LDL cholesterol may reduce your risk of hardened arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and circulation problems.

Welchol is sometimes used together with "statin" cholesterol medications such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, Crestor, Lipitor, Pravachol, Zocor, and others.

Welchol is also used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. This medication is not for treating type 1 diabetes.

Welchol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not take Welchol if you have diabetic ketoacidosis, very high triglycerides, a history of bowel obstruction, or a history of pancreatitis caused by high triglycerides.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take Welchol if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • very high levels of triglycerides (a type of fat) in your blood;

  • diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment);

  • a history of bowel obstruction; or

  • a history of pancreatitis caused by high triglycerides.

Welchol may increase your triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), which can increase your risk of and that the long-term effect of hypertriglyceridemia on the risk of coronary artery disease is uncertain

Welchol is not for use in girls who have not yet started having menstrual periods.

Welchol should not be given to a child younger than 10 years old.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • trouble swallowing;

  • a stomach, intestinal, or digestive disorder;

  • surgery on your stomach or intestines; or

  • a vitamin A, D, E, or K deficiency.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you become pregnant.

The powder form of colesevelam may contain phenylalanine. Tell your doctor if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

How should I take Welchol?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Take Welchol with a meal and a full glass of water or other liquid.

You may have to take several tablets at a time each time you take Welchol. Tell your doctor if you have trouble swallowing the tablet whole.

Welchol powder must be mixed with 8 ounces of water, fruit juice, or a diet soft drink. Stir and drink this mixture right away. Add a little more water to the glass, swirl gently and drink right away.

You may need to follow a special diet to prevent constipation while using Welchol. Follow all instructions of your doctor or dietitian.

Do not change the dose or timing of any other cholesterol or diabetes medications without your doctor's advice.

Welchol may increase your triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), which can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). You will need frequent blood tests.

Welchol is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine (with food and a full glass of water) as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

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 Welchol?

Avoid eating foods high in fat or cholesterol, or Welchol will not be as effective.

Welchol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Welchol and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe constipation;

  • severe stomach pain; or

  • pancreatitis--severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting.

Common side effects may include:

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.

What other drugs will affect Welchol?

Welchol can make some medicines much less effective when taken at the same time. If you take any of the following medicines, take them 4 hours before you take this medicine:

This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect Welchol. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.