Rx: Only available by prescription
Brand Name Welchol Options
This medication is used along with a proper diet and exercise to lower cholesterol in people with high levels of cholesterol in the blood. Lowering cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Colesevelam is also used along with a proper diet and exercise to lower high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent diabetes). Controlling high blood sugar helps prevent kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems. Proper control of diabetes may also lessen your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Colesevelam belongs to a class of drugs called bile acid-binding resins. Bile acid is a natural substance the liver makes by using cholesterol. This medication works by removing bile acid from the body. This causes the liver to make more bile acid by using cholesterol, which reduces cholesterol levels in the blood. It is not known how colesevelam works in lowering blood sugar.
Take this medication by mouth with a meal, usually 1 to 2 times daily or as directed by your doctor. Take the tablet form with a liquid (such as water, milk).
If you are using the powder form of this medication, pour the contents of one packet into a glass. Add one-half to one cup (4 to 8 ounces or 120 to 240 milliliters) of water. Stir the mixture well and drink. Do not take the powder without mixing in water.
Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day.
It may take several weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.
Colesevelam may decrease the absorption of other products you may be taking. Some examples include cyclosporine, glyburide, levothyroxine, and phenytoin, as well as birth control pills that contain ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone. Take these other medications at least 4 hours before taking your colesevelam dose. Ask your pharmacist if you are not sure when to take your medications.
Before taking colesevelam, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: history of pancreatitis (caused by high triglyceride levels).
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: high triglyceride levels, trouble swallowing, stomach/intestinal disorders, recent major intestinal surgery, constipation, hemorrhoids.
Because this drug can interfere with the absorption of certain vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, K) when used for a long period of time, your doctor may direct you to take a multivitamin supplement. Take the multivitamin at least 4 hours before taking your colesevelam dose.
The powder form of this medication may contain aspartame. If you have phenylketonuria (PKU) or any other condition that requires you to restrict your intake of aspartame (or phenylalanine), consult your doctor or pharmacist about using this medication safely.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially constipation.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication.
This medication is unlikely to pass into breast milk or harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Welchol Side Effects
Constipation and upset stomach may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To help prevent constipation, maintain a diet adequate in fiber, drink plenty of water, and exercise. If you become constipated while using this drug, consult your pharmacist in selecting a stool softener 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 immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, trouble swallowing, unusual bleeding/bruising.
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.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Welchol Active Ingredients