Welchol Oral Suspension

Generic Name: Colesevelam (KOE-le-SEV-e-lam)Brand Name: Welchol

Welchol Oral Suspension is used for:

Reducing high cholesterol levels. It is used along with diet and exercise. It may be used alone or with other medicines. It is also used along with other medicines to control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Welchol Oral Suspension is a bile acid sequestrant. It works to decrease cholesterol by increasing the removal of bile acids from the body. As the body loses bile acids, it replaces them by converting cholesterol from the blood to bile acids. This causes the blood level of cholesterol to decrease. Exactly how Welchol Oral Suspension works to treat type 2 diabetes is not known.

Do NOT use Welchol Oral Suspension if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Welchol Oral Suspension
  • you have a history of certain bowel problems (eg, blockage, paralysis, slow movement of the bowel muscles) or major stomach or bowel surgery, or you are at risk for bowel blockage
  • you have very high triglyceride levels or a history of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) caused by high triglyceride levels

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Welchol Oral Suspension:

Some medical conditions may interact with Welchol Oral Suspension. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have trouble swallowing, hemorrhoids, or a history of high triglyceride levels
  • if you have low levels of certain vitamins (A, D, E, K) or nutrient absorption problems
  • if you have type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Welchol Oral Suspension. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Insulin or sulfonylureas (eg, glipizide) because the risk of high triglyceride levels may be increased
  • Warfarin because its effectiveness may be decreased by Welchol Oral Suspension

Ask your health care provider if Welchol Oral Suspension may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Welchol Oral Suspension:

Use Welchol Oral Suspension as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take Welchol Oral Suspension by mouth with meals.
  • Empty the entire contents of one packet into a glass or cup. Add ½ to 1 cup (4 to 8 oz) of water. Stir well and drink.
  • Do not take Welchol Oral Suspension in its dry form. This may cause throat irritation.
  • If you also take glyburide, birth control pills, phenytoin, thyroid hormone replacements (eg, levothyroxine), or vitamins, take them at least 4 hours before you take Welchol Oral Suspension.
  • Continue to take Welchol Oral Suspension even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of Welchol Oral Suspension, take it with a liquid at your next meal. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Welchol Oral Suspension.

Important safety information:

  • Follow the diet and exercise program given to you by your health care provider.
  • It may take several weeks for Welchol Oral Suspension to begin working.
  • If Welchol Oral Suspension causes constipation, check with your doctor or pharmacist for ways to lessen this effect.
  • Welchol Oral Suspension may decrease the absorption of certain other medicines into your body. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see how you should take your other medicines with Welchol Oral Suspension.
  • This product contains phenylalanine. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you must have a diet that is low in phenylalanine.
  • Diabetes patients - Carry an ID card at all times that says you have diabetes. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor. If they are often higher or lower than they should be and you take Welchol Oral Suspension exactly as prescribed, tell your doctor.
  • Diabetes patients - Welchol Oral Suspension may lower your blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar may make you anxious, sweaty, weak, dizzy, drowsy, or faint. It may also make your heart beat faster; make your vision change; give you a headache, chills, or tremors; or make you more hungry. It is a good idea to carry a reliable source of glucose (eg, tablets or gel) to treat low blood sugar. If this is not available, you should eat or drink a quick source of sugar like table sugar, honey, candy, orange juice, or non-diet soda. This will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Tell your doctor right away if this happens. To prevent low blood sugar, eat meals at the same time each day and do not skip meals.
  • Lab tests, including cholesterol and triglyceride levels, may be performed while you use Welchol Oral Suspension. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Welchol Oral Suspension should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 10 years old or who have not had their first menstrual period; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Welchol Oral Suspension while you are pregnant. It is not known if Welchol Oral Suspension is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Welchol Oral Suspension, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Welchol Oral Suspension:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; headache; indigestion; muscle aches; nausea; sore throat; stomach pain or discomfort; tiredness; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); choking; difficulty swallowing; severe constipation or diarrhea; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; symptoms of pancreas inflammation (eg, severe stomach or back pain with or without nausea or vomiting, stomach tenderness or swelling, fast heartbeat, dizziness); throat pain or irritation.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include severe constipation.

Proper storage of Welchol Oral Suspension:

Store Welchol Oral Suspension at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Welchol Oral Suspension out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Welchol Oral Suspension, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Welchol Oral Suspension is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Welchol Oral Suspension. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

  • Welchol Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Welchol Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
  • Welchol Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • WelChol Detailed Consumer Information (PDR)