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All about: WelChol

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Generic name: Colesevelam
Brand names: WelChol

Why is WelChol prescribed?

WelChol is used to lower blood cholesterol levels when diet and exercise prove insufficient. It works by binding with cholesterol-based bile acids to take them out of circulation. This prompts the liver to produce a replacement supply of bile acids, drawing the extra cholesterol it needs out of the bloodstream.

WelChol is sometimes prescribed along with one of the popular "statin" drugs that fight cholesterol in a different way. Among these drugs are Lescol, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol, and Zocor.

Most important fact about WelChol

WelChol is usually added to a treatment regimen only when other measures have failed to produce adequate results. Often, diet and exercise are enough to bring cholesterol levels under control. Likewise, it's sometimes sufficient to simply treat an underlying problem such as diabetes, underactive thyroid, kidney disease, a liver disorder, or alcoholism.

Whatever your other treatment measures may be, it's important to remember that WelChol is intended to supplement them, rather than replace them outright. To get the full benefit of the medication, you need to stick to the diet, exercise program, and other treatments your doctor prescribes. All these efforts to keep your cholesterol levels normal are important because together they may lower your risk of heart disease.

How should you take WelChol?

WelChol should be taken at mealtime with a liquid.

--If you miss a dose...

Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature and protect from moisture.

What side effects may occur?

WelChol is not absorbed by the body, so it is relatively free of side effects. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking WelChol.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Constipation, indigestion, muscle aches, sore throat, weakness

Why should WelChol not be prescribed?

You should not take WelChol if you have a bowel obstruction or the product gives you an allergic reaction.

Special warnings about WelChol

If you have difficulty swallowing or suffer from severe digestive problems, use WelChol with caution; it hasn't been tested under these conditions. The drug has also not been studied in children.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking WelChol

No significant interactions are known.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

There is no evidence that WelChol causes harm during pregnancy. Nevertheless, be sure to let the doctor know if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. There is a possibility that WelChol could interfere with the absorption of needed vitamins.

Recommended dosage

ADULTS

The usual dosage is 6 tablets a day, taken as a single dose or divided into 2 doses. If you're taking WelChol with one of the "statin" drugs, the maximum recommended daily dosage is 6 tablets. If you're taking WelChol alone, the maximum is 7.

Overdosage

Since WelChol is not absorbed by the body, the chances of serious toxicity are low. Still, if you suspect an overdose, call your doctor immediately.

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