NZ Formulary



What does it do?

Colestyramine is used to lower cholesterol. This helps to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and other related problems. Colestyramine is sometimes used for other conditions.

How should you take it?

Take colestyramine regularly as directed. Mix the contents of each sachet with at least 100mL of water, fruit juice or trim milk before taking. It can also be mixed with other liquids such as thin soup or pureed fruit as long as at least 100mL of liquid is used. Do not take the dry powder on its own.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on as normal. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Take other medicines at least one hour before or four to six hours after taking colestyramine. Colestyramine can stop other medicines being absorbed by your body.

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

Important information continues on next page.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action


Increase fibre and fluid intake

Abdominal pain, bloating, stomach upset

Symptoms of haemorrhoids (piles) including: bright red blood on toilet paper, anal pain or itching

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have haemorrhoids (piles), constipation or stomach problems.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Long-term use of colestyramine may lower the amount of some vitamins absorbed by your body. Discuss with your health professional.
  • Tell your doctor if you have phenylketonuria (PKU). The colestyramine sachet may contain aspartame (a source of phenylalanine).