This page contains brief details about the drug , it's indication, dosage & administaration, mechanism of action, related brands with strength, warnings and common side effects.

Background and Date of Approval

Cholestyramine was initially approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on November 13, 1973.

Mechanism of Action of undefined

Cholestyramine operates by binding to bile acids within the intestines, creating complexes that are subsequently eliminated from the body. This prompts the liver to synthesize additional bile acids from cholesterol, leading to decreased cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. By reducing cholesterol, this medication assists in preventing conditions linked to high cholesterol, notably atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular diseases. It's important to use this medication under medical supervision due to potential interactions and side effects.

Uses of undefined

Cholestyramine is primarily used to lower elevated cholesterol levels in the blood, particularly LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. It is prescribed to manage conditions like hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia, and atherosclerosis, effectively reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. By binding to bile acids in the intestines, this medication  facilitates the removal of cholesterol from the body, contributing to improved lipid profiles and overall heart health.

undefined Drug administaration and Dosage available

Cholestyramine is typically administered orally, which means it is taken by mouth. It comes in the form of a powder that can be mixed with liquids, such as water or juice, before being consumed. This oral formulation allows the medication to work in the gastrointestinal tract, where it binds to bile acids and helps lower cholesterol levels through its mechanism of action. This medication is not typically available in other forms like injections or topical applications, as its intended mechanism of action is best achieved through oral administration.

Warnings, Precautions and Side Effects of undefined


This medication can lead to deficiencies in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and folic acid.If you have a history of gastrointestinal disorders, it could worsen constipation or lead to bowel obstruction. Although rare, this medication can cause allergic reactions. Cholestyramine powder can potentially affect tooth enamel.This medication can lead to changes in the consistency, color, or frequency of stool. It can reduce the absorption of certain medications, including some vitamins, minerals, and other prescription drugs. In rare cases, its use can lead to elevated triglyceride levels.


Due to the potential for nutrient deficiencies, monitoring and supplementation of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and folic acid may be required. Individuals with a history of bowel disorders should use it cautiously, as it can exacerbate or lead to severe constipation or bowel obstruction. Anaphylactic reactions and hypersensitivity, though rare, require immediate medical attention. Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should discuss the risks and benefits of cholestyramine with a healthcare provider. Liver and gallbladder issues should be considered due to potential interactions and effects on bile acid metabolism. Adherence to dietary and lifestyle modifications, as well as consistent communication with a healthcare provider, are vital for the safe and effective use of this medication.Take other medications at least 1 to 4 hours before or after it to minimize potential interactions.

Side Effects

Cholestyramine may lead to common side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and indigestion. Serious side effects can include allergic reactions with symptoms like rash and difficulty breathing, severe constipation potentially leading to bowel obstruction, nutrient deficiencies, interactions with other medications, and rarely, elevated triglyceride levels. It's essential to consult a healthcare provider if any side effects arise to determine appropriate actions and ensure your well-being.

Word Of Advice

Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, allergies, and medical conditions; be cautious of potential nutrient deficiencies, particularly fat-soluble vitamins; discuss gastrointestinal disorders, liver problems, and allergies before use; monitor blood glucose levels if you have diabetes; maintain adequate fluid intake to prevent constipation; time other medications around cholestyramine intake to avoid interactions; attend regular check-ups for cholesterol monitoring; follow dietary recommendations; be aware of potential stool changes; consult your healthcare provider before using laxatives; take steps to protect dental health; adjust dosages for children and elderly individuals; understand long-term use implications; keep emergency information accessible. These precautions ensure  the safe and effective use of this medication but always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Frequently Asked Question


  1. KD Tripathi, Essentials of Medical Pharmacology, Hypolipidaemic Drugs and Plasma Expanders, 7th edition, 2013, 638.
  2. Goodman & Gilman’s, The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, Drug therapy for Hypercholesterolemia and Dyslipidaemia, 12th edition, 2011, 899.
  3. Neon Healthcare Limited, Electronic medicines compendium (EMC), [ Revised on 04 May 2022] [ Accessed on 13th August 2023] ,
  4. Par Pharmaceutical, INC, US Food and Drug Administration, [Issued on Feb 2005] [Accessed on 13th August 2023],


The drug information on this page is not a substitute for medical advice, it is meant for educational purposes only. For further details, consult your doctor about your medical condition to know if you can receive this treatment.