What Is Cholestyramine Used For?
What is Cholestyramine used for? This prescription drug is commonly used for reducing high cholesterol and controlling itching that is caused by a partial biliary obstruction. The medicine can be used in children who are experiencing itching caused by a biliary obstruction, but not to reduce high cholesterol. Cholestyramine is also sometimes used to treat severe diarrhea in people who have had their gallbladder removed.
Cholestyramine is a generic medication that has been licensed to treat several conditions, including:
- Treatment of high LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels in patients with total high cholesterol
- Relief of itching caused by partial biliary obstruction.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood can accumulate on the walls of arteries (a conditoin known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries), leading to decreased blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart, brain, and other areas of the body. This can greatly increase a person's risk for developing conditions such as heart disease, angina (chest pain), heart attack, and stroke.
Cholestyramine has been licensed for the treatment of high cholesterol and should be used in combination with a low cholesterol diet and exercise. It works by lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Cholestyramine can be used alone or in combination with an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (known more commonly as statins) to lower cholesterol.
In general, cholesterol treatment is aimed at lowering LDL cholesterol levels enough to reduce the risk of developing complications associated with high cholesterol (see Effects of High Cholesterol). If you are at a higher risk, you will have a lower LDL goal.
(Click High Cholesterol Risk to see a list of risk factors that may affect your cholesterol level and a general guideline of ideal LDL cholesterol levels.)