Cholestyramine helps reduce cholesterol (fatty acids) in the blood. High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis (clogged arteries). Helps to lower high levels of cholesterol in the blood, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (“bad” cholesterol). Cholestyramine powder is also used to treat itching caused by a blockage in the bile ducts of the gallbladder.
These are a very specific treatment for bile acid malabsorption, which work by binding with the bile. Currently, there are two different types of bile acid sequestrants available in powder and tablet forms.
• Powders: There are two similar types of powders, colestyramine (Questran) and colestipol (Colestid), which have been available for years. Most people need to take them regularly once, twice or even three times every day depending on how bad their symptoms are. Very occasionally, a dose on alternate days is enough. Around one in four people cannot take them because they cannot tolerate the taste, the powders make diarrhoea worse, or they cause intolerable nausea, heartburn, wind or bloating. Most people report they work better and are easier to take if you take them with food.
• Tablets: Colesevelam (previously known as Welchol and now called
Cholestagel) is also available. Most people take between two and seven tablets a day in two or three doses, usually after food.