Cholestyramine resin adsorbs and combines with the bile acids in the intestine to form an insoluble complex which is excreted in the feces. The increased fecal loss of bile acids due to cholestyramine resin administration leads to decrease in low density lipoprotein plasma levels and a decrease in serum cholesterol levels.
Warnings: Cholestyramine resin should not be taken in its dry form. Always mix the with water or other fluids before ingesting.
Since cholestyramine resin may bind other drugs given concurrently, patients should take other drugs at least 1 hour before or 4 to 6 hours after cholestyramine resin (or at as great an interval as possible) to avoid impeding their absorption.
Pregnancy: Since cholestyramine resin is not absorbed systemically, it is not expected to cause fetal harm when administered during pregnancy in recommended dosages. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women and the known interference with absorption of fat soluble vitamins may be detrimental even in the presence of supplementation.
Lactation: Caution should be exercised when cholestyramine resin is administered to a nursing mother. The possible lack of proper vitamin absorption described in the Pregnancy section may have an effect on nursing infants.
Use in pregnancy or lactation requires that the potential benefits of drug therapy be weighed against the possible hazards to the mother and the child.
The most common adverse reaction is constipation. When used as a cholesterol-lowering agent predisposing factors for most complaints of constipation are high dose and increased age (more than 60 years old). Most instances of constipation are mild, transient, and controlled with conventional therapy. Some patients require a temporary decrease in dosage or discontinuation of therapy.
Less frequent adverse reactions:
- abdominal discomfort
- bleeding tendencies due to hypoprothrombinemia (vitamin K deficiency)
- vitamin A (night blindness has been reported rarely) and D deficiencies
If you experience rash, or swelling of the throat, tongue, or face, or if side effects are bothersome, please consult your physician.