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Colestipol - Uses, Side Effects, Interaction, and Precautions

Published on Nov 09, 2022 and last reviewed on Feb 03, 2023   -  5 min read


Colestipol is a cholesterol-lowering medication. Read below to know more about this drug.

What Is Colestipol?

Colestipol is a prescription drug used in combination with dietary changes to treat high cholesterol. It belongs to a group of drugs called bile acid sequestrants, which bind bile acids bound to LDL cholesterol and remove it from the body. Lowering high cholesterol levels can prevent heart disease and other circulation problems.

What Is Colestipol Used For?

Colestipol is a drug used to lower cholesterol that is not absorbed from the intestine into the body. It is used together with dietary modifications for treating high blood cholesterol levels. The other less common uses include the treatment of diarrhea due to increased bile acids. The drug can be used for the treatment of itching associated with the accumulation of bile acids in partial obstruction of the bile duct.

How to Use Colestipol?

Colestipol tablets and granules are taken by mouth before meals. The tablets may be taken with food. All the other medicines should be taken one hour before or four hours after taking Colestipol. The granules should be mixed with water to avoid accidental inhalation. Colestipol should not be taken more or less than prescribed by the doctor.

What Is the Dosage of Colestipol?

The dosage of Colestipol depends on age, the condition being treated, severity, other medical conditions, and response to the drug.

Colestipol is available in tablets and granules. The recommended initial dose for tablets is 2 grams to 16 grams once or twice daily. The dose may be increased to two grams at an interval of one month to get the desired therapeutic effect.

The initial dose in granules form is 5 grams or one packet to be taken orally once or twice a day. The maintenance dose can be 30 grams or six packets, once or twice a day. The maximum dose of Colestipol should not be more than 15 to 30 grams per day. This is divided into two to four doses and should be taken before meals.

How Does Colestipol Work?

The Colestipol hydrochloride binds bile acids in the intestine and forms a complex that is excreted in the feces. This results in partial removal of bile from the enterohepatic circulation, preventing reabsorption. This increases the fecal loss of bile acids. The Colestipol binds with bile acids in the intestinal lumen and causes them to excrete. This interruption converts cholesterol to bile acids and lowers plasma cholesterol.

What Are the Side Effects of Colestipol?

In case of any allergy signs after taking Colestipol, it is advised to get medical help.

Some of the common side effects may include,

Other serious side effects include

  • Gallbladder inflammation.

  • Sudden loss of weight.

Usually, these effects are mild and go away on their own within a few days or weeks. If these effects are severe or do not go away on their own, consult your physician as soon as possible for further management.

Things to Be Considered While Taking Colestipol:

  • Constipation - Colestipol causes constipation and makes it uncomfortable. To prevent it, drink plenty of water and include fiber in the diet. Sometimes, a laxative may be required.

  • Discontinuation - Colestipol should not be stopped without a doctor’s advice as the blood cholesterol suddenly increases again.

  • Base-Line - When Colestipol is discontinued, the serum cholesterol level takes usually one month to return to the baseline levels.

  • Duration - Long-term use of Colestipol may cause vitamin K deficiency and therefore increase the tendency to bleed if injured. Taking Colestipol for a long time may worsen constipation

What Are the Precautions to Be Taken While Taking Colestipol?

To ensure the safe and effective use of Colestipol, it is important to provide information on the following conditions.

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding - Intake of Colestipol does not harm the recommended dose. However, it does affect the absorption of certain vitamins such as A, D, E, and K that are necessary during pregnancy and the lactation period.

  • Pediatric - Colestipol is contraindicated for use in children younger than 18 years of age because it may interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins necessary for growth and development.

  • Older Adults - People over 60 years should take Colestipol with caution as they may experience nutritional deficiency of vitamins A, D, E, and K.

  • Hypoprothrombinemia - Chronic use of Colestipol may be associated with increased bleeding tendency due to hypoprothrombinemia from vitamin K deficiency.

  • Constipation - Colestipol may produce or worsen pre-existing constipation. Hence, the doses must be decreased in patients with chronic constipation.

  • Heart Disease - Using Colestipol in the long term can elevate serum triglycerides and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

What Are the Common Interactions of Colestipol?

Colestipol may interact with other drugs, foods, and supplements and make it harder for the body to absorb, making them less effective. While taking it, the following foods and drugs should be consumed with caution:

With Medicines:

  • Tegretol.

  • Hydrochlorothiazide.furosemide.

  • Propranolol.

  • Vitamin A, D, K.

  • Ursodiol.

  • Warfarin.

  • Tylenol.

  • Amiodarone.

  • Gemfibrozil.

  • Pravastatin.

  • Piroxicam.

  • Imipramine.

  • Glipizide.

  • Digoxin.

  • Diltiazem.

With Diseases:

  • Biliary Obstruction - The use of Bile acid sequestrants is contraindicated in patients with complete biliary obstruction, where bile is not secreted into the intestine.

  • Hyperchloremia - Therapy with Colestipol should be administered cautiously in patients who are more susceptible like children and patients with renal impairment.

  • Phenylketonuria - Colestipol should be administered with caution in patients with phenylketonuria and the dose of phenylalanine must be considered to restrict their intake.

With Food:

Using Colestipol together with multivitamins may decrease the effects of multivitamins with minerals. To avoid this they should be administered four hours before Colestipol.

  • Alcohol - Avoid consumption of large quantities of alcohol as it may increase the risk of liver damage.

Common Brands of Colestipol:

  1. Tablet Colestid.

  2. Sachet Choltran.

  3. Tablet Prevalite.

  4. Tablet Questran.

  5. Tablet Clostran.

  6. Sachet Epitran.

  7. Sachet Costamin.

  8. Sachet Locholest.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
03 Feb 2023  -  5 min read




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