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Some commonly used brand names are:
In the U.S.—
Cholestyramine (koe-less-TEAR-a-meen) is used to lower high cholesterol levels in the blood. This may help prevent medical problems caused by cholesterol clogging the blood vessels. Cholestyramine is also used to remove substances called bile acids from your body. With some liver problems, there is too much bile acid in your body and this can cause severe itching.
Cholestyramine works by attaching to certain substances in the intestine. Since cholestyramine is not absorbed into the body, these substances also pass out of the body without being absorbed.
Cholestyramine may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Cholestyramine is available only with your doctor"s prescription, in the following dosage form:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For cholestyramine, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to cholestyramine. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—Cholestyramine is not absorbed into the body and is not likely to cause problems. However, it may reduce absorption of vitamins into the body. Ask your doctor whether you need to take extra vitamins.
Breast-feeding—Cholestyramine is not absorbed into the body and is not likely to cause problems. However, the reduced absorption of vitamins by the mother may affect the nursing infant.
Children—This medicine has been tested in a limited number of children. In effective doses, the medicine has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than it does in adults.
Older adults—Side effects may be more likely to occur in patients over 60 years of age, who are usually more sensitive to the effects of cholestyramine.
Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking cholestyramine it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking any of the following:
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of cholestyramine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Try not to miss any doses and do not take more medicine than your doctor ordered.
This medicine should never be taken in its dry form, since it could cause you to choke . Instead, always mix as follows:
For patients taking this medicine for high cholesterol :
Dosing—The dose of cholestyramine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of cholestyramine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. Then go back to your regular dosing schedule. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Storage—To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits . This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it.
Do not take any other medicine unless prescribed by your doctor since cholestyramine may change the effect of other medicines.
Do not stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor . When you stop taking this medicine, your blood cholesterol levels may increase again. Your doctor may want you to follow a special diet to help prevent this from happening.
Side Effects of This Medicine
In some animal studies, cholestyramine was found to cause tumors. It is not known whether cholestyramine causes tumors in humans.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Black, tarry stools; stomach pain (severe) with nausea and vomiting
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Loss of weight (sudden)
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Heartburn or indigestion; nausea or vomiting; stomach pain
Belching; bloating; diarrhea; dizziness; headache
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, cholestyramine is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:
Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for these uses.
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