colesevelam

Pronunciation: KOE le SEV e lam

Brand: Welchol

What is the most important information I should know about colesevelam?

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Do not take this medication if you are allergic to colesevelam, or if you have a bowel obstruction or if you have ever had pancreatitis caused by high triglycerides.

Before taking colesevelam, tell your doctor if you have trouble swallowing, or if you have a history of major stomach or bowel surgery, a vitamin deficiency, or a blockage in your stomach or intestines.

Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Colesevelam will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.

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Do not take any other medications within 4 hours before or after you take colesevelam. Colesevelam can make it harder for your body to absorb certain other medications.

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Stop using colesevelam and call your doctor at once if you have severe constipation or stomach pain.

Colesevelam is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

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

What is colesevelam?

Colesevelam is a cholesterol-lowering drug.

Colesevelam 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.

Colesevelam is sometimes used together with another cholesterol-lowering medication such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor).

Colesevelam is also used to improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes. This medication is not for treating type 1 diabetes.

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Do not take colesevelam if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment with insulin).

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

What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking colesevelam?

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You should not use colesevelam if you are allergic to it, or if you have a bowel obstruction or if you have ever had pancreatitis caused by high triglycerides.

To make sure you can safely take colesevelam, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • trouble swallowing;
  • a stomach, intestinal, or digestive disorder;
  • a history of major stomach or bowel surgery; or
  • if you have a vitamin A, D, E, or K deficiency.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

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Taking colesevelam can make it harder for your body to absorb certain vitamins. These vitamins are important if you are nursing a baby. Do not take colesevelam without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

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Colesevelam should not be given to a child younger than 10 years old, or to a girl who has not yet started having menstrual periods.

The liquid form may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using this form of colesevelam if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

How should I take colesevelam?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

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Take this medicine 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 colesevelam. Follow your doctor's instructions. Tell your doctor if you have trouble swallowing the tablet whole.

To use the colesevelam powder, empty 1 packet into 4 to 8 ounces of water, fruit juice, or a soft drink. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.

Colesevelam is only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.

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

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.

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Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember (be sure to take the medicine with food and a full glass of water). Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Because colesevelam is not absorbed into the bloodstream, an overdose of this medication is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms. It is possible that an overdose may cause severe constipation.

What should I avoid while taking colesevelam?

Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Colesevelam will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.

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Do not take any other medications within 4 hours before or after you take colesevelam. Colesevelam can make it harder for your body to absorb certain other medications.

What are the possible side effects of colesevelam?

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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.

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Stop using colesevelam and call your doctor at once if you have severe constipation or stomach pain.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild constipation;
  • nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, gas, indigestion;
  • feeling weak or tired;
  • headache;
  • muscle pain; or
  • runny nose, sore throat, flu symptoms.

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 colesevelam?

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Do not take your other medications at the same time you take colesevelam, unless your doctor has told you to. Colesevelam can make it harder for your body to absorb certain other medications.

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune);
  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
  • glimepiride (Amaryl, Avandaryl, Duetact);
  • glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase Presab, Micronase, Glucovance);
  • metformin (Actoplus Met, Avandamet, Glucophage, Glucovance, Janumet, Jentadueto, Kombiglyze, Metaglip, Prandimet);
  • phenytoin (Dilantin);
  • thyroid hormone replacement; or
  • birth control pills.

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with colesevelam. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about colesevelam.


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.

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