Colestipol

Brand names of colestipol

  • Colestid

Colestipol is an oral prescription medication belonging to the class of drugs called bile acid sequestrants and is prescribed to persons who suffer from high blood cholesterol levels. This medication is not taken in by the body through the intestine, but it works by attaching itself to bile acids in the intestine and helps to get rid of bile acids by passing them out of the body with the stool. It may be noted that the bile acids are formed from cholesterol in the liver, subsequently secreted in into the bile and pass into the intestine with the bile. Most part of the bile acids are taken up once again from the intestine and returned to the body for further recycling through the liver and the bile. Colestipol action to help getting rid of the bile acids in the stool compels the liver to change additional cholesterol into bile acids with a view to substitute the eliminated bile acids. By this way, colestipol helps to lower the bile acid concentration inside the body. It may be noted here that colestipol functions much in the same manner as cholestyramine (Questran). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale and use of colestipol for lowering blood cholesterol levels in 1977.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking colestipol

Prior to starting treatment with any new drug, you need to adopt a number of precautions and the same applies to colestipol. Before taking this cholesterol lowering medication, inform your physician or pharmacist if you have any allergic reactions to colestipol, any of its ingredients or any other allergy problems. This medication is likely to enclose a number of inactive elements that may result in allergic reactions or other health problems. Therefore, before you start taking colestipol you ought to be aware of all the ingredients contained by the medication. In case you are not sure, talk to your pharmacist regarding further details and also ask him to provide you with the list containing the ingredients in this medicine.

Before taking this medication, ensure to tell your physician or pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, particularly if you have or ever had any problem in swallowing, any major intestinal surgery in recent times, stomach or intestinal problems, hemorrhoids and/ or constipation. Since colestipol has the potential to obstruct the absorption of specific vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K, when the medication is used for a prolonged period, it is likely that your physician may instruct you to take any multivitamin supplement. It is important to remember that you should take this multivitamin supplement a minimum of an hour before or at least four hours after taking the colestipol dose.

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Elderly people taking colestipol are more likely to be susceptible to the side effects of this prescription drug and they may especially experience problems related to the constipation. Moreover, any women of marriageable age intending to take colestipol for their condition ought to tell their physician if they are pregnant, as this medication has the potential to harm the fetus. Colestipol is not known to pass onto breast milk or cause any harm to nursing infants. Nevertheless, if you are taking this medication, consult your physician prior to breast feeding.

Usage

Colestipol, the prescription drug for lowering blood cholesterol levels, is used along with appropriate diet and exercises as recommended by your physician. This prescription drug is prescribed for patients suffering from high blood cholesterol levels. By lowering the blood cholesterol levels, including the LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol or 'bad' cholesterol, this medication helps to lessen the risk of heart ailments as well as prevents heart attacks and strokes - two life threatening medical conditions primarily caused by high blood cholesterol levels. As mentioned earlier, colestipol belongs to the class of drugs known as bile acid-binding resins. Bile is a natural substance found in our body and is produced by the liver making use of cholesterol. Colestipol basically works by eliminating the bile acids from the body by passing them out along with the stool. The action of the medication forces the liver to produce more bile acids by converting cholesterol and this, in turn, lowers the blood cholesterol levels, thereby preventing the risks of heart attacks and strokes.

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How to use colestipol

Colestipol is an oral prescription drug generally taken once or twice every day or as prescribed by the physician. It is important to take every dose of this medication along with a full glass (8 ounce/ 240 ml) of fluid, including water or milk. In case your physician has prescribed you more than one tablet, take them one at a time as the colestipol tablets are fairly large. While you should not swallow more than one tablet at one go, it is also important to take the tablets as a whole. Remember, you should never cut, break, crush or chew colestipol tablets.

The dosage of colestipol is by and large based on the patient's medical condition as well as his/ her response to the therapy. In order to lessen the risks of using this prescription drug, it is likely that your physician will initially prescribe a low dosage of colestipol and gradually increase the dosage till he is sure that you are taking the dosage appropriate for you. Hence, it is important to strictly abide by the instructions of your physician. In order to obtain the utmost benefit of taking colestipol, take this medicine on a regular basis. Take the medication at the same time every day as it will help you to remember when you have to take the drug daily. Colestipol has the potential to interact with certain medications and, thereby, reduce the absorption of those medications taken by you. Therefore, it is advisable to take the other medications used by you at least an hour before or four hours after taking the dosage of colestipol.

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It needs to be emphasized that you should not share colestipol with anyone else. Patients taking this prescription drug should undergo periodic medical and/ or laboratory examinations, for instance blood cholesterol levels, with a view to observe their progress or ensure whether they have any side effect of using this medication. If you are unsure about what needs to be done or have any queries, talk to your physician for more details. This medication alone can do little to bring down the blood cholesterol to satisfactory levels. Therefore, it is important to undertake exercises, quit smoking and eat low cholesterol or low fat foods. All these will help the medication to work better. Talk to your physician for further details in this regard.

How colestipol works

Colestipol belongs to the class of drugs called bile acid-binding resins and, hence, it works by binding with bile acids in the intestine and forms an insoluble compound, which is eliminated from the body in the feces. In effect, colestipol compels the liver to produce more bile acids to replace the eliminated compound. As a result of the lower bile acid levels, the liver is forced to convert more cholesterol into bile acids. The action of this medication results in the lessening of the amount of bile acids in the blood. Consequently, there is a decline in the amount of cholesterol in the liver cells and this helps the liver to produce additional receptors for LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol or 'bad' cholesterol. As more and more LDL is removed from the body the level of this harmful cholesterol too declines in the bloodstream. It is important to note that by lowering blood cholesterol, colestipol helps in lowering the risks of life-threatening health conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes.

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Side effects

Serious:
  • severe abdominal pain
Common:
Less common:

Possible interactions

As with most drugs, colestipol is also known to interact with certain medications, including herbal products and/ or minerals and, hence, they should not be used in conjugation. On the other hand, there are herbs that also help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and these may be used along with the medication. However, it is important to consult your physician before you add any new herbal product to your list of medications.

For instance, a number of scientific researches have demonstrated that garlic helps to lower the blood cholesterol levels. However, as it possibly works by a dissimilar means compared to colestipol, combined use of these two is sensible provided the dosing is split up. It is advisable that you consult your physician before taking garlic in conjugation with colestipol. In addition to garlic, even soy milk is known to be somewhat effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels. In modern times, cholesterol therapy sets a target for treatment and, therefore, these herbs are likely to facilitate in achieving that goal when they are used in combination with the cholesterol lowering prescription drug colestipol. Nevertheless, it is important to talk to your physician before you start taking any of these herbs along with the prescription drug.

Since colestipol is known to interfere with the absorption of certain vitamins, you should also ask your physician if you require taking any supplements, such a vitamins A, D, E and K, calcium as well as folic acid.

Taking the right diet forms an important aspect of contemporary cholesterol therapy. Hence, people who suffer from high blood cholesterol levels should essentially avoid foods that have an inclination to result in constipation, such as cheese and others. In case you are contemplating to add soy milk or any other soy product, it is advisable that you talk to your physician regarding this beforehand.

Discontinuation

Colestipol should not be discontinued all of a sudden and without consulting your physician. Always seek the approval of your physician beforehand when you want to stop taking this medication. Remember, when you stop taking colestipol, usually the blood cholesterol levels come back to their enduring levels in just one month's time. Besides, when you stop taking colestipol, it is important to reduce the dose of any toxic medication that you may be taking in conjunction with colestipol.

Storage instructions

The blood cholesterol lowering prescription drug colestipol should always be stored at room temperature ranging between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C) and always be kept in a place where there is no light or moisture. Never ever store this medication in your bathroom, for this place remains damp often. In addition, it is important to keep all medications in a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets.

Unless you have been directed otherwise, never discard the unused medications or those that have passed their expiry date by flushing them down the toilet or pouring them into the drain. Always use safe and appropriate measures to dispose of medications that are no longer needed by you. If necessary, you may consult your pharmacist or the neighbourhood waste disposal company for further details regarding the safe and proper way to dispose of the unnecessary product.

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