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Welchol is used to treat high cholesterol in adults and children at least 10 years old.
Welchol lowers "bad" cholesterol in the blood, which is also called LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Lowering your LDL cholesterol may reduce your risk of hardened arteries, which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and circulation problems.
Welchol is sometimes used together with "statin" cholesterol medications such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, Crestor, Lipitor, Pravachol, Zocor, and others.
Welchol is also used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. This medication is not for treating type 1 diabetes.
Welchol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Take Welchol with a meal and a full glass of water or other liquid.
You may have to take several tablets at a time each time you take Welchol. Tell your doctor if you have trouble swallowing the tablet whole.
You may need to follow a special diet to prevent constipation while using Welchol. Follow all instructions of your doctor or dietitian.
Do not change the dose or timing of any other cholesterol or diabetes medications without your doctor's advice.
Welchol may increase your triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), which can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). You will need frequent blood tests.
Welchol is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Before taking colesevelam, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: pancreatitis (caused by high triglyceride levels), high triglyceride levels, trouble swallowing, stomach/intestinal disorders (such as constipation, blockage, gastroparesis), recent major intestinal surgery, hemorrhoids.
Because this drug can interfere with the absorption of certain vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E, K) when used for a long period of time, your doctor may direct you to take a multivitamin supplement. Take the multivitamin at least 4 hours before taking your colesevelam dose.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication.
This medication is unlikely to pass into breast milk or harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Constipation and upset stomach may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To prevent constipation, eat dietary fiber, drink enough water, and exercise. You may also need to take a laxative. Ask your pharmacist which type of laxative is right for you.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, trouble swallowing, unusual bleeding/bruising.
This medication does not usually cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Low blood sugar may occur if this drug is prescribed with other diabetes medications, or if you do not consume enough calories from food, or if you do unusually heavy exercise.
Symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. It is a good habit to carry glucose tablets or gel to treat low blood sugar. If you don't have these reliable forms of glucose, rapidly raise your blood sugar by eating a quick source of sugar such as table sugar, honey, or candy, or drink fruit juice or non-diet soda. Tell your doctor right away about the reaction and the use of this product. To help prevent low blood sugar, eat meals on a regular schedule, and do not skip meals. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out what you should do if you miss a meal.
Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include thirst, increased urination, confusion, drowsiness, flushing, rapid breathing, and fruity breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away. Your dosage may need to be increased.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
How should I use this medicine?
Take this medicine by mouth with at least 4 ounces (half a glass) of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take with food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed. Because of the tablet size, it is recommended that children use the oral suspension.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Your blood sugar and other tests will be measured regularly.
This medicine is only part of a total cholesterol or blood sugar-lowering program. Your health care professional or dietician can suggest a low-cholesterol and low-fat diet that will reduce your risk of getting heart and blood vessel disease. Avoid alcohol and smoking, and keep a proper exercise schedule.
To reduce the chance of getting constipated, drink plenty of water and increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Ask your doctor or health care professional for advice if you are constipated.
If you are taking this medicine for diabetes, wear a medical ID bracelet or chain, and carry a card that describes your disease and details of your medicine and dosage times.
This medicine may cause a decrease in folic acid. You should make sure that you get enough folic acid while you are taking this medicine. Discuss the foods you eat and the vitamins you take with your health care professional.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Protect from moisture. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.