Where is Cholestyramine used?

Cholestyramine is used to treat:

  • High blood cholesterol levels called hypercholesterolemia
  • Preventing coronary heart disease in men who have primary hypercholesterolemia
  • Relieving itching caused by primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Relieving diarrhea associated with Crohn’s disease

Cholestyramine is a type of medicine called a bile acid sequestrant. This helps remove bile acid from the body. This also lowers cholesterol levels. Cholestyramine is a prescription approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How does Cholestyramine work?

Cholestyramine prevents the bile acids in the intestine from being reabsorbed in the bloodstream. As an alternative, they pass over the intestine with the cholestyramine and are emitted in the feces. This activates the liver to create additional bile acids from the cholesterol in the blood. It drops the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Bile is created by the liver and is released into the intestine through the bile duct as part of digestion. It contains substances called bile acids which the liver makes from cholesterol in the blood. Bile acid helps with the digestion of fats disbursed in the diet. The bile acids are returned to the liver following digestion after being reabsorbed into the bloodstream.  

High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease by clogging and narrowing the arteries. This medication decreases the risk of hardening of the arteries and the problems this may cause. It can be sued alone or in combination with other cholesterol-lowering medicines.

How is Cholestyramine taken?

  • Cholestyramine is to be taken by mouth as directed by your doctor.
  • This is usually taken 1 to 2 times a day with a meal.
  • Mix the medication in at least 2-6 ounces of water, milk, or fruit juice.
  • You can also mix the medicine with applesauce, watery soups, or some pulpy fruit with a lot of juice.
  • Rinse your glass and drink it to make sure that you have taken the whole dosage.
  • Do not take your medication in the dry powder form. Do not also hold the mixture in your mouth for long since it can damage your teeth.
  • This prescription should not be taken an hour after or 4 hours before you take other drugs.

What are the possible side effects of Cholestyramine?

Common side effects:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Ongoing or worsening constipation
  • Unusual bleeding or easy bruising

What are the precautions in taking Cholestyramine?

  • This medication should be used with caution in children with inherited high blood cholesterol and those with diabetes.
  • Cholestyramine should not be used in people with total blockage of the bile duct.
  • This is not recommended for use in children under 6 years of age.
  • Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you have any medical history especially of hemorrhoids, constipation, and kidney disease.
  • This should only be used when needed during pregnancy. If you are a breastfeeding women, consult your doctor first before using this drug.