Generic Name: Cholestyramine Brand Name(s): Cholestyramine. Avability: Rx Pregnancy Category: C

Uses

What is Cholestyramine used for?

Cholestyramine is used along with a proper diet to lower cholesterol in the blood. Lowering cholesterol helps decrease the risk for strokes and heart attacks.

In addition to a proper diet (such as a low-cholesterol/low-fat diet), other lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include exercising, losing weight if overweight, and stopping smoking. Consult your doctor for more details.

Cholestyramine may also be used to treat itching in people with too much bile acid caused by a certain type of liver/bile duct disease (partial biliary obstruction).

This medication is known as a bile acid-binding resin. It works by removing bile acid from the body. In people with high cholesterol, this causes the liver to make more bile acid by using cholesterol in the blood. This helps to lower the cholesterol levels.

How should I take Cholestyramine?

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 1 to 2 times a day. This medication comes as a powder with doses measured by the scoopful (using the provided scoop) or in individual dose packets. Do not take your dose in the dry powder form. Mix the medication in at least 2 to 6 ounces (60 to 180 milliliters) of liquid (such as water, milk, fruit juice), stir completely, and drink right away. Rinse your glass with more liquid and drink the rinse liquid to be sure that you have taken the entire dose. You may also mix this medication with watery soups, applesauce, or a pulpy fruit which has a lot of juice (such as crushed pineapple, peaches).

Do not hold the mixture in your mouth for long since doing so can damage your teeth. Practice good dental habits (such as brushing and flossing your teeth regularly).

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. It may take several weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.

How do I store Cholestyramine?

Cholestyramine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Cholestyramine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Cholestyramine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Cholestyramine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Cholestyramine?

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: constipation, hemorrhoids, kidney disease.

Some products may contain sugar or aspartame. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.

Because this drug can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients (such as folic acid, fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E, K), your doctor may direct you to take a multivitamin supplement. Consult your doctor for more information.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially constipation.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. It may affect the absorption of certain nutrients. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

This medication is unlikely to pass into breast milk. However, it may affect the absorption of certain nutrients. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Cholestyramine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Cholestyramine. Cholestyramine is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Cholestyramine?

Constipation, stomach/abdominal pain, gas, nausea, and vomiting may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To prevent constipation, eat a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. If you become constipated while using this drug, consult your pharmacist for help in selecting a stool softener and/or a laxative.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these rare but severe stomach/abdominal pain, unusual bleeding/bruising, rapid breathing, confusion.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Cholestyramine?

Some products that may interact with this drug include: “blood thinners” (such as warfarin), mycophenolate, raloxifene.

Cholestyramine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Cholestyramine?

Cholestyramine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Cholestyramine?

Cholestyramine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Cholestyramine.

What is the dose of Cholestyramine for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Hyperlipoproteinemia

Initial dose: 4 g (1 packet or level scoop) orally once or twice a day

Maintenance dose: 8 to 16 g (2 to 4 packets or level scoops orally in 2 divided doses

Maximum dose: 24 g (6 packets or level scoops) per day

Comments:

-Increases in dose should be gradual with periodic assessment of lipid/lipoprotein levels at intervals of not less than 4 weeks.

-Although the recommended dosing schedule is up to twice a day, this drug may be administered in 1 to 6 doses per day.

Uses:

-As adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated serum cholesterol in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (elevated low density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol) who do not respond adequately to diet; may be useful to lower LDL cholesterol in patients who also have hypertriglyceridemia, but it is not indicated where hypertriglyceridemia is the abnormality of most concern; this drug has also been shown to delay the progression and increase the rate of regression of coronary atherosclerosis

-For the relief of pruritus associated with partial biliary obstruction

Usual Adult Dose for Hyperlipoproteinemia Type IIa (Elevated LDL)

Initial dose: 4 g (1 packet or level scoop) orally once or twice a day

Maintenance dose: 8 to 16 g (2 to 4 packets or level scoops orally in 2 divided doses

Maximum dose: 24 g (6 packets or level scoops) per day

Comments:

-Increases in dose should be gradual with periodic assessment of lipid/lipoprotein levels at intervals of not less than 4 weeks.

-Although the recommended dosing schedule is up to twice a day, this drug may be administered in 1 to 6 doses per day.

Uses:

-As adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated serum cholesterol in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (elevated low density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol) who do not respond adequately to diet; may be useful to lower LDL cholesterol in patients who also have hypertriglyceridemia, but it is not indicated where hypertriglyceridemia is the abnormality of most concern; this drug has also been shown to delay the progression and increase the rate of regression of coronary atherosclerosis

-For the relief of pruritus associated with partial biliary obstruction

Usual Adult Dose for Pruritus of Partial Biliary Obstruction

Initial dose: 4 g (1 packet or level scoop) orally once or twice a day

Maintenance dose: 8 to 16 g (2 to 4 packets or level scoops orally in 2 divided doses

Maximum dose: 24 g (6 packets or level scoops) per day

Comments:

-Increases in dose should be gradual with periodic assessment of lipid/lipoprotein levels at intervals of not less than 4 weeks.

-Although the recommended dosing schedule is up to twice a day, this drug may be administered in 1 to 6 doses per day.

Uses:

-As adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated serum cholesterol in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (elevated low density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol) who do not respond adequately to diet; may be useful to lower LDL cholesterol in patients who also have hypertriglyceridemia, but it is not indicated where hypertriglyceridemia is the abnormality of most concern; this drug has also been shown to delay the progression and increase the rate of regression of coronary atherosclerosis

-For the relief of pruritus associated with partial biliary obstruction

Dose Adjustments

Patients with preexisting constipation: Initiate with 4 g (1 packet or 1 level scoop) orally once a day for 5 to 7 days; increasing to twice a day with monitoring of constipation and of serum lipoproteins, at least twice, 4 to 6 weeks apart. If the initial dose is well tolerated, the dose may be increased as needed by one dose/day (at monthly intervals) with periodic monitoring of serum lipoproteins.

What is the dose of Cholestyramine for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hyperlipoproteinemia

240 mg/kg/day orally in 2 to 3 divided doses not to exceed 8 g/day with dose titration based on response and tolerance

Comments:

-An optimal dosage schedule has not been established in pediatric patients.

-Dosage expressed in terms of anhydrous resin.

-The effects of long-term administration as well as this drug’s effect in maintaining lowered cholesterol levels in pediatric patients are unknown.

Use: As adjunctive therapy to diet for the reduction of elevated serum cholesterol in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia (elevated low density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol) who do not respond adequately to diet; may be useful to lower LDL cholesterol in patients who also have hypertriglyceridemia, but it is not indicated where hypertriglyceridemia is the abnormality of most concern

How is Cholestyramine available?

Cholestyramine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Oral powder for reconstitution,
  • Compounding powder.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Cholestyramine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: August 29, 2018 | Last Modified: August 29, 2018

Want to live your best life?
Get the Hello Doktor Daily newsletter for health tips, wellness updates and more.