Bile Acid Resins to Lower Cholesterol

Precautions and Possible Side Effects of Bile Acid Resins

Precautions to take when you are on bile acid resins:
  • Tell your doctor about your other health problems. Doctors usually do not prescribe bile acids for people who have:
    • triglycerides higher than 400 mg/dL
    • certain types of inherited high cholesterol
    • severe chronic constipation
  • Tell your doctor if you're breast-feeding. Bile acid resins could keep your baby from getting enough vitamins through your breast milk. Here's why. Bile acid resins aren't absorbed. That means they can interfere with the way your body absorbs other medicines that you take at the same time. Over a long period, they can interfere with the way you absorb fat-soluble vitamins. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K, and folic acid.

  • Tell your doctor if you have underactive thyroid, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, constipation or hemorrhoids. You may not be able to take cholestyramine. Or you may need a lower dose or close monitoring. In people with these conditions, bile acids resins modestly increase triglycerides and liver enzymes.

  • Keep all your follow-up visits with your doctor. If you have a triglyceride level higher than 200 mg/dL and if this is the only type of medicine you take for cholesterol, you should work closely with your doctor.

Taking these actions will help ensure that you take your bile acid resins safely.

Possible side effects. The most common side effects of bile acid resins are gastrointestinal problems, such as:

  • bloating
  • constipation
  • feelings of fullness
  • gas
  • nausea
  • worsening of hemorrhoids
How to respond to side effects. Take these actions to help counter these effects:
  • Drink prune juice.
  • Take an over-the-counter fiber product, such as psyllium.
  • Take the medicine with meals.
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  • Exercise to reduce constipation.