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colestipol (Colestid) Uses, Side Effects & Dosage

What is colestipol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Colestipol is an oral cholesterol-lowering drug
    that is not absorbed from the intestine into the body. Rather, it works by
    binding to bile acids in the intestine and promoting the elimination of bile
    acids in the stool. Bile acids are formed in the
    liver from cholesterol,
    secreted into bile and with the bile enter the intestine. Most of the bile acids
    are reabsorbed from the intestine back into the body to be cycled again through
    the liver and bile. By promoting the elimination of bile acids, colestipol
    forces the liver to convert more cholesterol into bile acids in order to replace
    the lost bile acids. This reduces the levels of cholesterol within the body.
    Colestipol works similarly to
    cholestyramine (Questran).
  • Colestipol was approved
    by the FDA in 1977.

What brand names are available for colestipol?


Is colestipol available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for colestipol?


What are the uses for colestipol?

  • Colestipol is used together with dietary modifications for
    the treatment of high blood
    cholesterol levels.
  • Other less common uses include
    treatment of
    diarrhea due to increased intestinal bile acids after some types of
    intestinal surgery and treatment of
    itching associated with partial obstruction
    to the flow of bile due to
    liver disease. The
    itching is believed to be due to
    the accumulation of bile acids in the body.

What are the side effects of colestipol?

The most common adverse effect is constipation. Other less frequent side effects are:

Rarely, ulcers, reduced absorption of nutrients, fatty stools, and
stomach or intestinal bleeding may occur.

Other serious side effects of colestipol include:

  • Fecal impaction
  • Esophageal obstruction
  • Gallbladder inflammation
  • Ulcers
  • Gallstones

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What is the dosage for colestipol?

  • Colestipol is most often prescribed in 2 to 4 divided doses but may
    also be prescribed once daily.
  • The usual adult dose is 2-16 gm of tablets
    administered once or twice daily or 5-30 grams of granules once daily or 4 times
  • Tablets should not be cut, crushed or chewed.
  • Granules should be mixed in
    three ounces of fluid (water or fruit juice).

Which drugs or supplements interact with colestipol?

  • Colestipol binds many different compounds in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby inhibiting their absorption into the body. For
    example, colestipol can bind with and decrease the oral absorption of
    carbamazepine (Tegretol), diuretics such as
    hydrochlorothiazide (found in
    Dyazide, Maxzide) and
    furosemide (Lasix),
    propranolol (Inderal), tetracyclines,
    and fat-soluble
    vitamins (vitamins A, D, and K). Colestipol can bind with and
    inhibit the absorption of thyroid hormones. Colestipol also can bind with
    ursodiol (Actigall, Urso). Separating the doses of colestipol and these other compounds by
    several hours should prevent binding with colestipol. Generally, other
    should be administered one hour before colestipol or 4 hours after colestipol is
  • Colestipol binds to
    vitamin K, a vitamin which is required by the liver to
    make the factors that allow blood to clot. Colestipol, by reducing the action of
    vitamin K, may exaggerate the effect of
    (Coumadin), reducing the body’s ability to
    form blood clots. This interaction could lead to abnormal bleeding. On the other
    hand, colestipol can bind with warfarin directly and inhibit the absorption of
    warfarin. To avoid this interaction, doses of warfarin and colestipol should be
    separated by at least 4-6 hours.
  • Colestipol is closely related to cholestyramine. Cholestyramine has been more
    extensively studied than colestipol. Therefore, there are several drug
    interactions which have been described with cholestyramine for which data is
    lacking with colestipol. It would be prudent to assume that a similar
    interactions exist for both drugs and to separate ingestion of colestipol from
    the other drugs by several hours. These interactions with cholestyramine

What else should I know about colestipol?

What preparations of colestipol are available?

  • Granules: 5 gm/ packet or bulk (5gm/teaspoonful) in canisters
  • Tablets: 1 gm.
How should I keep colestipol stored?

Tablets and granules should be stored at room temperature, 20
C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F).


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