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All about: Welchol

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Generic Name: colesevelam (koh le SEV e lam)
Brand Names: Welchol

What is Welchol (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 may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

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

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to colesevelam, or if you have a bowel obstruction.

Before taking colesevelam, tell your doctor if you have trouble swallowing, or if you have a stomach or intestinal disorder, a history of major stomach or bowel surgery, or a vitamin A, D, E, or K deficiency.

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.

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.

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

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to colesevelam, or if you have a bowel obstruction.

Before taking colesevelam, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • 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.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use colesevelam, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

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. 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.

How should I take Welchol (colesevelam)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take this medicine with a meal and a full glass of water or other liquid.

You may have to take up to 7 tablets at a time each time you take colesevelam. Follow your doctor's instructions.

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.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store colesevelam at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

If you take colesevelam once per day and you miss a dose:

  • Take the missed dose as soon as you remember.

  • If you don't remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time.

  • Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

If you take colesevelam twice per day and you miss a dose:

  • If you missed the first dose of the day, take it as soon as you remember. You may also take the missed dose together with your second dose at the regularly scheduled time.

  • If you missed the second dose of the day, take it as soon as you remember.

  • If you don't remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Because colesevelam is not absorbed into the bloodstream, an overdose of this medication is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.

What should I avoid while taking Welchol (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.

Welchol (colesevelam) side effects

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. Stop using colesevelam and call your doctor at once if you have fever, chills, body aches, or flu symptoms.

Keep taking colesevelam and talk to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:

  • headache, general pain;

  • constipation or diarrhea;

  • stomach pain, gas, indegestion; or

  • stuffy nose.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Welchol (colesevelam)?

Before taking colesevelam, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • acetaminophen (Tylenol);

  • digoxin (Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin);

  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid);

  • theophylline (Elixophyllin, Respbid, Theo-Dur, Uniphyl);

  • verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Covera, Verelan);

  • an antibiotic such as amphotericin B (Fungizone, AmBisome, Abcelet, Amphotec), gentamicin (Garamycin), or vancomycin (Vancocin); or

  • thyroid hormone replacement.

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use colesevelam, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect colesevelam. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has information about colesevelam written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Colesevelam is available with a prescription under the brand name Welchol. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Welchol 625 mg--off-white tablet

  • 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.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.04. Revision Date: 1/30/07 10:26:39 AM.

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