cholestyramine, Questran, Questran Light (cont.)

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

PRESCRIBED FOR: Cholestyramine is used for reducing cholesterol levels in the blood, to relieve the itching of liver and biliary disease, and to treat overdoses of digoxin (Lanoxin), or thyroid hormone. Cholestyramine also is recommended for the rapid elimination of leflunomide (Arava).

SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects of cholestyramine are:

Long-term use of cholestyramine may cause a deficiency of vitamin A, D, E, and K. Constipation can be an important side effect of cholestyramine, perhaps because the presence of free bile acids in the intestine helps determine the amount of water in stool, and cholestyramine binds the free bile acids. It is recommended that additional fluids be drunk when taking cholestyramine; however, it is not known for certain if this prevents constipation, and more aggressive treatment with fiber, stool softeners or even laxatives such as milk of magnesia may be necessary.

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Powder (Resin): 4 grams (Packet or Scoopful)

STORAGE: Cholestyramine should be stored at room temperature, 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F)

DOSING: The usual dose for reducing cholesterol is 4 to 8 grams once or twice a day. The maximum dose is 24 grams per day. Powder should be mixed with 60 to 180 ml (2 to 6 fl oz) of water, noncarbonated beverage, pulpy fruits or soup.

 DRUG INTERACTIONS: Cholestyramine decreases the absorption of warfarin (Coumadin), thyroid hormones (levothyroxine sodium [Synthroid, Levoxyl, Liotrix], digoxin (Lanoxin), and thiazide diuretics (Hydrodiuril, Oretic, Dyazide, Maxide). Therefore, these drugs should be administered 1 hour before or 4-6 hours after the administration of cholestyramine. Cholestyramine decreases the conversion of leflunomide (Arava) to its active form and reduces the absorption of vitamin A, D, E and K.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/30/2014


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