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What does it do?

Colestyramine is used to lower cholesterol, and sometimes for other conditions.

How should you take it?

Take colestyramine as directed. Add the contents of each sachet to at least 100 mL of liquid such as water, juice, milk, thin soup or pureed fruit. Stir until you have an even mixture (the powder will not dissolve). Do not take the dry powder on its own.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. 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.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action


Increase fibre and fluid intake, tell your doctor if troublesome

Stomach upset, bloating, farting

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 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).
  • Colestyramine is not registered for use in New Zealand. Discuss with your doctor.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. March 2022

For more general information about this sheet annd its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed