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Precautions and Warnings With Gemfibrozil

People with a range of conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, or liver disease or liver failure, should talk with their healthcare provider prior to taking gemfibrozil. Those who have severe kidney or liver disease or abnormally high liver enzymes should not be prescribed gemfibrozil at all. Other precautions and warnings with gemfibrozil include potential drug interactions and the safety of taking it while pregnant or nursing.

Gemfibrozil: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking gemfibrozil (Lopid®), you should talk with your healthcare provider if you have:
  • Gallbladder disease or gallstones
  • Kidney disease or kidney failure
  • Liver disease or liver failure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • An allergy to gemfibrozil, any other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
It is also important to let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • A frequent user of alcoholic beverages.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you may currently be taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Some Precautions and Warnings With Gemfibrozil

Some precautions and warnings to be aware while taking gemfibrozil include:
  • Gemfibrozil can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Gemfibrozil).
  • Gemfibrozil can increase the cholesterol content in the bile, leading to gallstones. Your healthcare provider may decide to have you stop taking gemfibrozil if gallstones are found in your body.
  • If you have severe kidney disease, gemfibrozil can make your condition worse. Therefore, it's recommended that you do not take gemfibrozil if you have severe kidney disease. Your healthcare provider should instead consider an alternative cholesterol medicine. If gemfibrozil is necessary, it should be used with extreme caution.
  • Gemfibrozil has been known to occasionally cause an increase in liver enzymes. Therefore, it is recommended that you have a blood test that looks at your liver function before starting gemfibrozil and several months after treatment has started. These tests may also be recommended if the gemfibrozil dosage is changed (see Lopid and Liver Problems).
  • Gemfibrozil has been associated with the rare but serious condition known as rhabdomyolysis (severe breakdown of muscles). Your risk increases if you are elderly, have kidney disease, or are not being properly treated for hypothyroidism. Let your healthcare provider know immediately if you experience any muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if they are accompanied by unexplained tiredness or fever (see Lopid and Muscle Pain).
  • Gemfibrozil has been shown to cause a decrease in certain blood cells at the beginning of therapy. Your healthcare provider may decide to monitor your blood counts more closely during the first 12 months of your treatment.
  • Gemfibrozil is considered a pregnancy Category C medicine. This means it has not been studied in pregnant women. However, when studied in animals, it did produce a negative effect on the fetus. If you are pregnant, you should take gemfibrozil only if the benefit outweighs the possible risk to your unborn child. If you become pregnant while taking gemfibrozil, contact your healthcare provider immediately (see Lopid and Pregnancy).
  • If you are nursing, it is not known if gemfibrozil passes through your milk. It has been shown to increase the risk of tumors in nursing animals. Therefore, if you are nursing and taking gemfibrozil, it's recommended that you either stop nursing or stop taking gemfibrozil. Your healthcare provider should make this decision.
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Gemfibrozil Information

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