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Precautions and Warnings With Colesevelam

To ensure a safe treatment process, precautions and warnings with colesevelam should be reviewed with your healthcare provider. For example, if you have bleeding problems, difficulty swallowing, or stomach problems, this may not be the right medication for you. Precautions and warnings with colesevelam also include being aware that the drug may cause constipation and raise triglyceride levels.

Colesevelam: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking colesevelam hydrochloride (WelChol®), you should talk with your healthcare provider if you have:
  • High triglycerides
  • Stomach problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A history of bowel obstruction
  • A history of pancreatitis
  • Recently had surgery of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Bleeding problems.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
In addition, tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you are currently taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Colesevelam

Precautions and warnings to be aware prior to taking colesevelam include the following:
  • Colesevelam can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Colesevelam).
  • The medication can cause constipation. Let your healthcare provider know if you have any kind of stomach problem, because colesevelam could make your condition worse. You should also drink plenty of water, increase the amount of fiber in your diet, and exercise to prevent constipation.
  • The tablets can cause a bowel obstruction (a blockage of the intestines) or may get stuck in the throat. If you have a slow-moving digestive tract due to gastroparesis or other problems, if you have recently had gastrointestinal surgery, or if you have trouble swallowing tablets, colesevelam may not be the best choice for you.
  • Colesevelam may cause an increase in triglyceride levels. It has not been well studied in people with triglyceride levels greater than 300 mg/dL. If you have high triglycerides and are taking this drug, your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your progress more closely. High triglycerides can be dangerous and may increase the risk of pancreatitis, a serious condition of the pancreas.
  • The medication has been shown to cause a decrease in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) in animal studies. Therefore, colesevelam should be used with caution in people with vitamin deficiencies. It is possible that decreased absorption of vitamin K could increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Colesevelam is considered a pregnancy Category B medicine. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known (see WelChol and Pregnancy).
  • Since the medication is not absorbed into the body, it likely doesn't pass through breast milk and may be used safely while breastfeeding. However, to be safe, let your healthcare provider know if you decide to breastfeed while taking colesevelam (see WelChol and Breastfeeding).
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Colesevelam Medicine

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