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Welchol is a medicine used along with diet and exercise to treat high cholesterol levels in the blood by lowering "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Welchol is also used along with diet and exercise to help control high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. Welchol is available as tablets and a powder for oral suspension.
How does this medication work?
Bile acids are made when cholesterol is broken down in your body. Welchol works by binding to bile acids in your intestines, thereby lowering your cholesterol levels.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
Diabetes: Studies show that Welchol, when added to certain diabetes medicines, helped lower A1C levels (an estimate of your average blood sugar levels over a 2- to 3- month period). Lowering your blood sugar to a normal level may prevent or delay potential complications associated with diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, or heart problems.
Cholesterol: In two different studies, when added to 10 mg each of simvastatin and atorvastatin, Welchol lowered LDL cholesterol by 42% and 48% respectively.
When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. Though you may not feel an improvement or change in the way you feel, it is very important to keep taking your medicine as prescribed to keep your condition under control.
How do I know it is working?
Your healthcare provider may do blood tests to check your cholesterol, blood sugar, and your A1C levels during treatment with Welchol. Appropriate diet and exercise also contribute to your overall heart health and will also affect the results of your blood tests.
Taking Welchol is not a substitute for following a healthy low-fat and low-cholesterol diet and exercising to lower your cholesterol.
The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
More common side effects may include: constipation, upset stomach, nausea.
Less common side effects may include:
Welchol may increase triglyceride (a type of fat in the blood) levels.
Do not take Welchol if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
Do not take Welchol if you have had a blockage in your intestines or inflammation of your pancreas associated with high triglyceride levels.
Do not take Welchol if you have very high triglyceride levels in your blood.
Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Welchol. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have problems with your stomach or intestines; problems swallowing; or a condition called phenylketonuria (an inability to process phenylalanine, a protein in your body).
The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Adults: The recommended dose is 6 tablets once a day or 3 tablets twice a day.
Powder for Oral Suspension
Adults and children ≥10 years: The recommended dose is one 3.75-gram (g) packet once a day or one 1.875-g packet twice a day.
Take Welchol exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Welchol without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Take Welchol tablets and Welchol for Oral Suspension with a meal and liquid.
To prepare Welchol for Oral Suspension, empty the entire contents of one packet into a glass or cup. Add 1/2 to 1 cup (4 to 8 ounces) of water, fruit juice, or diet soft drinks. Stir well and drink the entire contents.
Certain vitamins and prescription medicines must be taken at least 4 hours before you take Welchol. Talk to your healthcare provider about what medicines need to be taken 4 hours before taking Welchol.
Do not take Welchol for Oral Suspension in its dry form. It must be mixed with a liquid.
If Welchol is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Welchol with the following: certain birth control pills, certain diabetes medicines (such as glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, or metformin), cyclosporine, levothyroxine, olmesartan, phenytoin, or warfarin.
The effects of Welchol during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
If you miss a dose of Welchol, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.
Store at room temperature. Protect from moisture.
In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222
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