Questran / Questran Light

  • Colestyramine should be mixed with at least 150ml water before taking. You may also mix colestyramine with skimmed milk, soup, fruit juice or pulpy fruit with a high water content.
  • Colestyramine may stop the absorption of other medicines so these should be taken at least 1 hour before this medicine or 4-6 hours after. If you have any problems planning when to take your medicines speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
  • The main side-effects of colestyramine are constipation or diarrhoea, stomach ache, and feeling or being sick.

About colestyramine

Type of medicine Bile acid sequestrant
Used for Lowering levels of cholesterol and other lipids (fats) in the blood
Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in men aged 35-59 years
Treating pruritus (severe itching) caused by bile (a liquid made up of cholesterol, bile salts and waste products) building up in the liver
Relief of diarrhoea induced by radiation or caused by certain medical conditions such as Crohn's disease
Also called Questran®
Questran Light®
Available as Powder sachets

Colestyramine works by binding to bile acids in your digestive system. This prevents the bile acids from being reabsorbed into your body which can help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. This also relieves diarrhoea and itching when these problems are caused by having too much bile acid in your blood.

Before taking colestyramine

Before taking colestyramine make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you know you have any obstruction of your gall bladder, such as gallstones.
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.

How to take colestyramine

  • Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
  • Take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor.
  • Colestyramine should be mixed with at least 150ml water before taking. You may also mix colestyramine with skimmed milk, soup, fruit juice or pulpy fruit with a high water content.
  • Try to take colestyramine at the same time each day to avoid missing any doses.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take one as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up. If in doubt, speak to your pharmacist or doctor.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Keep your regular doctor's appointment so your progress can be monitored.
  • Colestyramine may stop the absorption of other medicines so these should be taken at least 1 hour before this medicine or 4-6 hours after. If you have any problems planning when to take your medicines speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Long-term treatment with colestyramine may reduce the body's absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D & K) and folic acid. Your doctor will advise you if you need to take a vitamin supplement.
  • If you have been prescribed colestyramine to lower cholesterol, additional lifestyle changes will help you get the most out of your medicine. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice on stopping smoking, exercising, losing weight, eating a low-fat diet and reducing alcohol intake.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

Can colestyramine cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Possible side-effects What can I do if I experience this
Constipation Try to eat a well balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink 6-8 glasses of water each day
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids
Feeling sick, being sick, stomach ache Eat little and often. Stick to simple or bland foods - avoid rich and spicy foods

Important: If you experience any unexpected bleeding or bruising speak with your doctor immediately.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store colestyramine

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.