Cholesterol Home > WelChol

WelChol is a drug used to lower cholesterol. It has also been licensed to treat type 2 diabetes; however, while it is clear that the drug works within the digestive tract, it is not clear how it works to control blood sugar. WelChol comes in tablet form and is taken by mouth once or twice a day with meals. Common side effects include constipation and heartburn.

What Is WelChol?

WelChol® (colesevelam hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used to lower cholesterol levels in the body. Lowering the amount of cholesterol and fats may help prevent conditions such as:
 
 
This medication should be used in combination with diet and exercise. It has also been approved to help improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
 

Who Makes It?

WelChol is manufactured by Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
 

What Is WelChol Used For?

WelChol has been licensed to treat high LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) in people with high total cholesterol. It has also been licensed to help treat type 2 diabetes.
 
(Click WelChol Uses for more information.)
 

How Does It Work?

WelChol is part of a class of drugs known as bile acid sequestrants. It works by binding to bile acids in the intestines, preventing them from being reabsorbed into the body. Bile acids are made in the liver from broken-down cholesterol. Therefore, removing these substances from your body helps lower your blood cholesterol. The medication can lower both total and LDL cholesterol, while slightly raising HDL cholesterol.
 
It is not yet known how WelChol works to help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. However, it is clear that the drug works within the digestive tract, since it is not absorbed into the rest of the body.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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