colestipol (Colestid)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is colestipol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Colestipol is an oral cholesterol-lowering drug that is not absorbed from the intestine into the body. Rather, it works by binding to bile acids in the intestine and promoting the elimination of bile acids in the stool. Bile acids are formed in the liver from cholesterol, secreted into bile and with the bile enter the intestine. Most of the bile acids are reabsorbed from the intestine back into the body to be cycled again through the liver and bile. By promoting the elimination of bile acids, colestipol forces the liver to convert more cholesterol into bile acids in order to replace the lost bile acids. This reduces the levels of cholesterol within the body. Colestipol works similarly to cholestyramine (Questran).
  • Colestipol was approved by the FDA in 1977.

What brand names are available for colestipol?

Colestid

Is colestipol available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for colestipol?

Yes

What are the uses for colestipol?

  • Colestipol is used together with dietary modifications for the treatment of high blood cholesterol levels.
  • Other less common uses include treatment of diarrhea due to increased intestinal bile acids after some types of intestinal surgery and treatment of itching associated with partial obstruction to the flow of bile due to liver disease. The itching is believed to be due to the accumulation of bile acids in the body.

What are the side effects of colestipol?

The most common adverse effect is constipation. Other less frequent side effects are:

Rarely, ulcers, reduced absorption of nutrients, fatty stools, and stomach or intestinal bleeding may occur.

Other serious side effects of colestipol include:

  • Fecal impaction
  • Esophageal obstruction
  • Gallbladder inflammation
  • Ulcers
  • Gallstones

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/17/2016

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