Colestipol (Colestid)

How does it work?

Colestid granules contain the active ingredient colestipol, which is a type of medicine called a bile acid sequestrant. It is used to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Colestipol is not absorbed into the bloodstream. It works in the intestines, where it binds to bile acids.

Bile is a fluid that is produced by the liver. It is released into the intestine through the bile duct as part of digestion. Bile contains substances called bile acids, which the liver makes from cholesterol in the blood. Bile acids aid the digestion of fats consumed in the diet. Following digestion, the bile acids are reabsorbed into the bloodstream and are then returned to the liver.

Colestipol binds to the bile acids in the intestine and prevents them being reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Instead, they pass through the intestine with the colestipol and are excreted in the faeces. This triggers the liver to produce more bile acids from the cholesterol in the blood, which lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood.

High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease by clogging and narrowing the arteries (atherosclerosis). Colestipol is used to lower cholesterol levels and thus reduce the risk of hardening of the arteries and the problems this can cause. It may be used on its own, or in combination with other cholesterol-lowering medicines.

Medicines are used to lower high cholesterol levels when a low-cholesterol diet and exercise regime have not done this sufficiently. However, it is important to continue to follow your cholesterol-lowering diet while taking this medicine. Discuss this with your doctor.

What is it used for?

  • High blood cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolaemia).


  • Colestid granules should not be taken in their dry form. The contents of each sachet should be mixed with at least 100ml of water or other suitable non-carbonated liquid, such as fruit juice, skimmed milk or thin soups. It may also be mixed with cereals, yoghurt, or pulpy fruits with a high moisture content, eg stewed apple.
  • It is important to continue to follow a cholesterol-lowering diet while taking this medicine. Discuss this with your doctor.
  • A common side effect associated with this medicine is constipation. If you experience constipation that becomes severe or doesn’t go away you should consult your doctor.
  • This medicine may interfere with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K from the gut. Supplements of these vitamins may be required during prolonged treatment. Seek medical advice from your doctor.

Use with caution in

  • Children.
  • People with raised levels of fats called triglycerides in their blood.
  • Colestid orange granules contain aspartame and should be used with caution in people with an inherited disorder of protein metabolism called phenylketonuria.

Not to be used in

  • Allergy to any ingredient.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • The safety of this medicine for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding has not been established. The medicine is not absorbed into the bloodstream, but it may cause deficiences in fat soluble vitamins with prolonged use. For this reason, it should be used with caution in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and only if the potential benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risks to the baby. Seek medical advice from your doctor.

Label warnings

  • Dissolve or mix this medication with water before taking.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Constipation.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Belching.
  • Flatulence.
  • Indigestion.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Aggravation of haemorrhoids.
  • Raised levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood.

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.

Colestipol may interfere with the absorption of other medicines from the gut if they are taken at the same time at this medicine. To avoid this, other medicines should be taken at least one hour before or four hours after taking Colestid granules.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredient

There are currently no other medicines available in the UK that contain colestipol as the active ingredient.