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Colestipol - Uses, Side Effects, Interaction, and Precautions

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

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Published At November 9, 2022
Reviewed AtFebruary 3, 2023

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,

  • Constipation.

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Indigestion.

  • Abdominal distension.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Dizziness

  • Abdominal cramps.

  • Flatulence.

  • Nausea.

  • Vomiting.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Purpose of the Medicine Colestipol?

The main purpose of the drug colestipol is to reduce high blood cholesterol levels. It lowers the body's overall cholesterol levels by attaching to cholesterol molecules and blocking their absorption in the intestines.


Does Colestipol Help With Diarrhea?

No, diarrhea is not commonly treated with colestipol. Its main purpose is to decrease elevated blood cholesterol levels.


Can Colestipol Help With IBS?

Colestipol is not frequently employed in the management of IBS. It is not a common medication for IBS and is mostly used to decrease cholesterol levels.


A Cholestyramine Is Colestipol?

Colestipol and cholestyramine are two drugs used to decrease cholesterol levels, although they are not interchangeable. They both come from the same group of medications called bile acid sequestrants.


What Distinguishes Cholestyramine From Colestipol?

Both colestipol and Cholesteroltyramine are bile acids. However, they are used to decrease cholesterol. However they have different chemical structures and several other clinical traits. Their formulation gives a significant difference:
- Cholestyramine: It can be combined with liquids for oral ingestion and is available er or resin.
- Colestipol: This medication, which is used orally, is normally sold as tablimpact
These formulational variations may have an impact on how well patients accept and absorb them. The decision between the two drugs may depend on the preferences and needs of each patient. Both drugs reduce cholesterol absorption by binding to bile acids in the intestines.


Colestipol Belongs to What Drug Class?

The drug colestipol belongs to the forms as bile acid sequestrants. It functions by forming a substance that is excreted from the body by binding bile acids in your intestines.


What Other Options Do for Colestipol?

Other strategies for decreasing cholesterol exist if Manyficient.
- Statins: To reduce cholesterol levels, many doctors w to reduce cholesterol levels prescribe drugs like atorvastatin and simvastatin.
- Ezetimibe: This medication lowers the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.
- PCSK9 Inhibitors: People with extremely high cholesterol levels may benefit from taking drugs like evolocumab and alirocumab.
- Fibrates: Doctors may give medications like fenofibrate to lower triglyceride levels and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Niacin: Supplemental niacin, often known as vitamin B3, can help increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol.
A healthcare professional should make this decision because it is based on things including cholesterol levels and personal health.


What Serves as Colestipol’s Replacement?

Colestipol could be replaced with other cholesterol-lowering drugs such statins (such as atorvastatin), ezetimibe, PCSK9 inhibitors (such as evolocumab), fibrates, or niacin. A person's medical condition and cholesterol levels, as determined by a healthcare professional, would decide the precise replacement.


Is Liver Affected by Colestipol?

By binding to bile acids, colestipol primarily affects the intestines and may lower cholesterol levels. It is not frequently understood to affect the liver directly. Colestipol users should have regular checkups and speak with their doctor to evaluate their liver function because any medicine has the potential to have an impact on the liver.


What Is the Name of the Brand of Colestipol?

The drug colestipol is marketed under the name "Colestid." Pharmaceutical businesses advertise and promote the medicine under this name.


Do Loose Stools Result From Colestipol?

Although it doesn't occur in everyone who takes colestipol, loose stools or diarrhea can be possible adverse effects. Colestipol's mechanism of action involves binding to bile acids in the intestines, which in some persons may result in gastrointestinal side effects like loose stools or diarrhea. It's crucial to talk to your doctor if you have this adverse effect while taking colestipol. They might change your dosage or suggest different tactics to deal with this adverse effect.


What Time of Day Is Ideal for Taking Colestipol?

It is often best to take colestipol before or during a meal because it is typically taken with food. This makes it more effective at binding to bile acids in the intestines. The timing and dosage of colestipol may vary depending on your unique needs, so it's vital to adhere to your healthcare provider's exact instructions.


Is the Medication Colestipol Available in the Market Currently?

Only a prescription from a physician is required to purchase colestipol. This product has several dosing formulations: Tablets and powder for suspension.


Can Colestipol Be Called a Bile Acid?

Colestipol is a bile acid sequestrant, a class of drugs that reduces cholesterol by attaching to bile acids in the intestines.
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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


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