Precautions and Warnings With Cholestyramine

Before taking any medications, you should learn about all the relevant precautions and warnings. With Cholestyramine, there are several potential side effects that may occur, such as constipation, increased triglycerides, and teeth problems. Certain people for whom precautions and warnings with Cholestyramine may particularly apply include pregnant women and those who are allergic to any components of the medicine.

Cholestyramine: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking Cholestyramine, you should alert your healthcare provider if you have:
  • Stomach problems
  • Gallbladder disease or gallstones
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Constipation
  • Biliary obstruction
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Recent surgery
  • Bleeding problems
  • An allergy to Cholestyramine or 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 other medicines you are currently taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Some Precautions and Warnings With Cholestyramine

Some precautions and warnings to be aware of while taking Cholestyramine include:
  • Cholestyramine can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Cholestyramine).
  • Cholestyramine can cause constipation. It is important to let your healthcare provider know if you have any kind of stomach problem, because Cholestyramine could make your condition worse. You should also drink plenty of water, increase the amount of fiber in your diet, and exercise to prevent becoming constipated.
  • Cholestyramine may cause a slight increase in triglycerides. It has not been well studied in patients with triglyceride levels greater than 300mg/dL. If you have high triglycerides and are taking Cholestyramine, your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your progress more closely.
  • Cholestyramine has been shown to cause a decrease in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) in animal studies. Therefore, Cholestyramine should be used with caution in people with vitamin deficiencies.
  • Sipping or holding the medicine in your mouth for long periods of time may cause teeth problems, including discoloration, tooth decay, or erosion of enamel.
  • Cholestyramine is considered a pregnancy Category C medicine, meaning 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 only take Cholestyramine if the benefit outweighs the possible risk to your unborn child. If you become pregnant while taking Cholestyramine, contact your healthcare provider immediately (see Cholestyramine and Pregnancy).
  • Since Cholestyramine is not absorbed into the body, it is likely that it doesn't pass through breast milk if you are nursing. However, it can affect absorption of certain types of vitamins. Therefore, you should let you healthcare provider know if you are going to breastfeed. Together, you can decide what makes most sense for your particular situation.
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