WelChol Precautions and Warnings

There are many WelChol precautions and warnings to discuss with your healthcare provider before you take the drug. For example, tell your healthcare provider if you have stomach problems or bleeding problems. WelChol precautions and warnings also apply to people who have a bowel obstruction or an allergy to WelChol, colesevelam hydrochloride, or the inactive ingredients used in making the drug.

WelChol: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to taking WelChol® (colesevelam hydrochloride), talk with your healthcare provider if you have:
  • High triglycerides
  • Stomach problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A history of bowel obstruction
  • A history of pancreatitis 
  • Recently had surgery of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Bleeding problems
  • An allergy to WelChol, any other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are currently taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific WelChol Precautions and Warnings

Precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking WelChol include the following:
  • WelChol can interact with certain medications (see WelChol Drug Interactions).
  • The medication can cause constipation. It is important to let your healthcare provider know if you have any kind of stomach problem, because WelChol could make your condition worse. You should also drink plenty of water, increase the amount of fiber in your diet, and exercise to prevent constipation.
  • WelChol tablets can cause a bowel obstruction (a blockage of the intestines) or may get stuck in the throat. If you have a slow-moving digestive tract due to gastroparesis or other problems, if you have recently had gastrointestinal surgery, or if you have trouble swallowing tablets, this medication may not be the best choice for you.
  • The medication may cause an increase in triglyceride levels. It has not been well studied in people with triglyceride levels greater than 300 mg/dL. If you have high triglycerides and are taking WelChol, your healthcare provider may choose to monitor your progress more closely. High triglycerides can be dangerous and may increase the risk of pancreatitis, a serious condition of the pancreas.
  • WelChol has been shown to cause a decrease in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) in animal studies. Therefore, the drug should be used with caution in people with vitamin deficiencies. It is possible that decreased absorption of vitamin K could increase the risk of bleeding.
  • WelChol is considered a pregnancy Category B medicine. This means it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known (see WelChol and Pregnancy).
  • Since WelChol is not absorbed into the body, it likely doesn't pass through breast milk and may be used safely while breastfeeding. However, let your healthcare provider know if you decide to breastfeed while taking WelChol (see WelChol and Breastfeeding).
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