Welchol (Colesevelam) Dosage and Side Effects
WELCHOL is the brand name of a prescription drug whose active ingredient is colesevelam. WELCHOL is used to lower levels of the "bad" cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), when combined with proper diet and exercise.
Warnings and Precautions
You should not take WELCHOL if:
- You are allergic to WELCHOL or any of the other ingredients found in the drug
- You have a blockage in your stomach or gut or a history of such problems
- You have high triglycerides (triglyceride count greater than 500 mg/dl)
- You have high cholesterol in the blood caused by high triglycerides
Talk to your doctor before taking WELCHOL if:
- Your triglycerides range from 300 mg/ dl to 500 mg/dl
- You have problems with food getting stuck and not moving properly through your gut
- You are at risk of having blockages in your gut
- You have phenylketonuria (some forms of WELCHOL contain phenylalanine)
- You are likely to have low levels of vitamins A, D, E, or K
- You have had major surgery on your stomach or intestines
Pregnancy and WELCHOL
WELCHOL falls under the FDA's Pregnancy Category B, which means it is generally considered safe to take during pregnancy.
Regardless, you should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before taking this medication.
You should also tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed before you start taking WELCHOL.
Common side effects of WELCHOL include:
- Constipation, vomiting, upset stomach, and nausea
- Muscle pain, weakness, or loss of strength
- High blood pressure or levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Upper respiratory symptoms or flu-like symptoms
- Low blood sugar
Serious side effects of WELCHOL include but are not limited to:
- Allergic reactions
- Severe rash
- Severe blisters in the mouth
- Blockage of your food pipe or intestines
- Stool blockage
- Difficulty swallowing
- Inflammation of the pancreas
Interactions with this medication
It's always important to share with your doctor and pharmacist all of the medications you are taking.
This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, supplements like vitamins and other dietary supplements (nutritional shakes, protein powders, etc.), herbals, and any illegal or recreational drugs.
Medications that have serious interactions with WELCHOL include:
- Calcijex or Rocalcitrol (calcitriol) or Zemplar (paricalcitol)
- Thyroid medications like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levo-T, or Levothroid (levothyroxine) or Cytomel or Triostat (liothyronine)
- Vitamin D and related drugs like Vitamin D3 (cholcalciferol), Hectorol (doxercalciferol), or Drisdol (ergocalciferol)
- Neoral, Gengraf, or Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
- Coumadin or Jantoven (warfarin)
- Certain diabetes drugs like Glucophage (metformin), Diabeta (glyburide), Amaryl (glimperide), Prandin (repaglinide)
- Calan, Covera-HS, or Verelan (verapamil)
- The herbal supplement gotu kola
WELCHOL and Alcohol
If you can, try to avoid drinking alcohol altogether, or limit how much alcohol you drink, while taking WELCHOL.
Proper Use of this medication
WELCHOL is available as a tablet in 625 mg doses, and as a powder packet in 1875 mg and 3750 mg doses.
For cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, your doctor may recommend taking1875 mg twice a day with food or 3750 mg once a day with food.
You should not take more than 3750 mg of WELCHOL daily.
If you suspect an overdose of WELCHOL, you should contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.
Missed Dose of WELCHOL
If you miss a dose of WELCHOL, try to take it as soon as you remember.
If it's almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time.
Do not take two doses of the medication at the same time.
Other related products
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.