Cholestyramine Powder for Suspension

Cholestyramine is a medication that helps lower cholesterol if you’re at risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) that helps your body perform many important functions. Too much cholesterol is bad for you. This medication is in a dry form that must be mixed with liquid before swallowing.

What is this medication?

CHOLESTYRAMINE (koe LESS tir a meen) treats high cholesterol. It may also be used to treat itching caused by high levels of bile acid in people with liver conditions. It works by removing bile acid from your body and decreasing the amount of bad cholesterol (such as LDL) in your blood. Changes to diet and exercise are often combined with this medication.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Locholest, Locholest Light, Prevalite, Questran, Questran Light


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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Constipation
  • Kidney problems
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to cholestyramine, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

Do not take this medication in the dry form. It must be mixed with a liquid before swallowing. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Place the powder in a glass or cup. Add between 2 and 6 ounces of fluid. This can be water, milk, pulpy fruit juice, fluid soup, or other liquid. Mix well and drink all of the liquid. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medication more often than directed.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.


What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

  • Diuretics
  • Estrogen or progestin hormones
  • Heart medications, such as digoxin or digitoxin
  • Penicillin G
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenylbutazone
  • Phytonadione
  • Propranolol
  • Tetracycline antibiotics
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Warfarin

Take other medications at least 1 hour before or 4 hours after this medication, to avoid decreasing their absorption.

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.


What should I watch for while using this medication?

Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.

You may need blood work while you are taking this medication.

This medication will cause constipation. If you do not have a bowel movement for 3 days, call your care team.

Taking this medication is only part of a total heart healthy program. Ask your care team if there are other changes you can make to improve your overall health.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Bleeding—bloody or black, tar-like stools, vomiting blood or brown material that looks like coffee grounds, red or dark brown urine, small red or purple spots on skin, unusual bruising or bleeding

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.

To get rid of mediations that are no longer needed or have expired:

  • Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
  • If you cannot return the medication, check the label or package insert to see if the medication should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put it in the trash, take the medication out of the container. Mix the medication with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in the bag or container. Put it in the trash.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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