Cholestyramine is used to reduce high cholesterol.  It is also used in reducing itching caused by partial obstruction of the biliary tract.

What is Cholestyramine?

Cholestyramine is a bile acid sequestrant. It works by increasing the removal of bile acids. Moreover, it leads to new synthesis, in which the body uses the cholesterol present in the blood. The result is a reduction in blood cholesterol levels.

How should Cholestyramine be taken?

In general, Cholestyramine is administered in the form of powder for oral use. Its intake must be combined with an appropriate diet.

Side effects associated with Cholestyramine

A commonly found side effect while taking Cholestyramine is constipation. If mentioned effects are prolonged, it is recommended for you to ask your doctor for a dose adjustment.

Among the other possible adverse effects are included:

  • Rash
  • Urticaria
  • Itchy skin
  • Difficult breathing
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue
  • Black or bloody stools
  • Skin, language or anal irritation
  • Severe or persistent constipation
  • Strong or persistent nausea
  • Breath shortness
  • Indolence
  • Stomach ache
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Vomiting

Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Cholestyramine

Some formulations of Cholestyramine can be a source of phenylalanine and be contraindicated in case of phenylketonuria. Furthermore, this active ingredient should not be taken in case of bile ducts obstruction, severe constipation, high chlorine blood level and if you are already taking leflunomide or mycophenolate.

Cholestyramine may impair the ability to drive or operate hazardous machinery, especially when taken together with alcohol or other drugs. It can also interfere with the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives.

Moreover, before starting the treatment it is important to tell your doctor if:

  • You have any allergies to the active substance, to other components, to other drugs or foods
  • You are taking medications, herbal remedies and supplements, in particular anticoagulants, beta blockers, deferasirox, digoxin, digitoxin, diuretics, estrogen, hormonal contraceptives, leflunomide, mycophenolate, penicillins, phenobarbital, phenylbutazone, phosphates, progestins, tetracycline, thyroid hormones and spironolactone
  • You suffer (or have suffered) from heart disease, constipation, hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal blocks, gallbladder problems, blood disorders, bleeding or clotting, high triglycerides, intestinal problems and malabsorption, kidney disease, phenylketonuria, diabetes, hypothyroidism, liver disease, alcohol dependence, dehydration or hypovolemia
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding