What is gemfibrozil?

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Generic Name: Gemfibrozil Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is gemfibrozil used for?

Gemfibrozil is used along with a proper diet to help lower fats (triglycerides) and raise “good” cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It may also help to lower “bad”cholesterol (LDL). Gemfibrozil belongs to a group of drugs known as “fibrates.” It works by decreasing the amount of fat produced by the liver. Lowering triglyceridesin people with very high triglyceride blood levels may also decrease the risk of pancreas disease (pancreatitis). However, gemfibrozil might not lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about the risk and benefits of gemfibrozil.

In addition to eating a proper diet (such as a low-cholesterol/low-fat diet), other lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include exercising, drinking less alcohol, losing weight if overweight, and stopping smoking.

How should I take gemfibrozil?

Take gemfibrozil by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually twice a day (30 minutes before your morning and evening meals).

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

If you also take certain other drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take gemfibrozil at least 1 hour before or at least 4-6 hours after taking these medications. These products can react with gemfibrozil, preventing its full absorption.

Take gemfibrozil regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same times each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol/triglycerides do not feel sick.

It is very important to continue to follow your doctor’s advice about diet and exercise. It may take up to 3 months before you get the full benefit of this drug.

How do I store gemfibrozil?

Gemfibrozil is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store gemfibrozil in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of gemfibrozil 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 gemfibrozil 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.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using gemfibrozil?

Before taking gemfibrozil,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to gemfibrozil or any other medications.
  • tell your doctor if you are taking simvastatin (Zocor) or repaglinide (Prandin, in Prandimet). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take gemfibrozil while taking one or both of these medications.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), and pravastatin (Pravachol); and colchicine (Colcrys). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • if you are taking colestipol, take this medication 2 hours before or 2 hours after gemfibrozil.
  • tell your doctor if you have kidney, liver, or gallbladder disease. Your doctor may tell you not to take gemfibrozil.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking gemfibrozil, call your doctor.

Is it safe to take gemfibrozil during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication 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

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of gemfibrozil?

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

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • sharp pain in your upper stomach (especially after eating);
  • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes);
  • blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights;
  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine;
  • pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating, purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • upset stomach;
  • mild stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness;
  • mild joint or muscle pain;
  • loss of interest in sex, impotence, difficulty having an orgasm;
  • numbness or tingly feeling;
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.

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.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with gemfibrozil?

Gemfibrozil 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.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.

  • Repaglinide, Simvastatin.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Atorvastatin, Bexarotene, Cerivastatin, Colchicine, Dabrafenib, Eltrombopag, Enzalutamide, Ezetimibe, Fluvastatin, Imatinib, Lovastatin, Pitavastatin, Pravastatin, Rosuvastatin.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Dicumarol, Glyburide, Loperamide, Lopinavir, Montelukast, Pioglitazone, Rosiglitazone, Warfarin.

Does food or alcohol interact with gemfibrozil?

Gemfibrozil 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 gemfibrozil?

Gemfibrozil 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, especially:

  • Diabetes;
  • Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)—Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.
  • Gallbladder disease;
  • Kidney disease, severe;
  • Liver disease (including cirrhosis)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.

Understand the Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of Gemfibrozil for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Hyperlipidemia

600 mg orally twice a day, 30 minutes before the morning and evening mea

What is the dose of Gemfibrozil for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is gemfibrozil available?

Gemfibrozil is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Tablet, Oral: 600 mg

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

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services (115) or go to your nearest emergency room.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • Stomach cramps;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Joint and muscle pain;
  • Nausea;

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of gemfibrozil, 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.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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