Generic name: cholestyramine (koe le STYE ra meen)
Brand name: Cholestyramine Light, Prevalite, Questran
Drug class: Bile acid sequestrants
The Questran brand name has been discontinued in the U.S. If generic versions of this product have been approved by the FDA, there may be generic equivalents available.
What is Questran?
Questran helps reduce cholesterol (fatty acids) in the blood. High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis (clogged arteries).
Questran is used to lower high levels of cholesterol in the blood, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ("bad" cholesterol).
Questran powder is also used to treat itching caused by a blockage in the bile ducts of the gallbladder.
Questran may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use Questran if you have a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
Wait at least 4 to 6 hours after taking Questran before you take any other medications.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Questran if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- a blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines).
To make sure Questran is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- chronic constipation;
- a thyroid disorder;
- kidney disease;
- liver disease; or
- coronary artery disease (clogged arteries).
This medicine may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using Questran if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).
Taking Questran can make it harder for your body to absorb certain vitamins. Your doctor may recommend you take a vitamin supplement.
You may have an even greater need for vitamin supplements during pregnancy or while you are breast-feeding a baby. Follow your doctor's instructions about taking vitamin supplements during treatment with Questran.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
How should I take Questran?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use Questran in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Although Questran is usually taken once or twice per day, this medicine may be taken up to 6 times per day. Carefully follow your doctor's dosing instructions.
Mix the Questran powder with at least 2 to 3 ounces of water or other non-carbonated beverage. You may also mix the powder with a brothy soup, crushed pineapple, or applesauce. Measure the powder using the scoop provided with your medication. Do not use any other scoop or measuring cup to measure your this medicine dose.
Questran works best if you take it with meals. However, your dosing schedule may depend on when you need to take any other medications. This medicine should not be taken within 1 hour after or 4 hours before you take other medications.
Use Questran regularly to get the most benefit. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.
Questran can affect the surfaces of your teeth. Sipping the this medicine/liquid mixture slowly or holding the liquid in your mouth for too long may result in tooth discoloration, enamel erosion, or tooth decay. Be sure to brush your teeth regularly while you are using this medicine.
Drink extra fluids to prevent constipation while you are taking Questran.
While using Questran, you may need frequent blood tests.
Questran is only part of a complete program of treatment that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include severe stomach pain or constipation.
What should I avoid while taking Questran?
Avoid taking other medications at the same time you take Questran. Wait at least 4 to 6 hours after taking this medicine before you take any other medications.
Questran side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- ongoing or worsening constipation;
- severe stomach pain;
- blood in your urine;
- black, bloody, or tarry stools; or
- easy bruising, unusual bleeding.
Side effects such as constipation may be more likely in older adults.
Common side effects may include:
- mild constipation, diarrhea;
- stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite;
- bloating or gas;
- irritation of your tongue; or
- itching or irritation around your rectal area.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Questran?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
- birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
- digoxin (digitalis);
- a diuretic or "water pill";
- penicillin G;
- thyroid medication such as levothyroxine (Synthroid and others); or
- warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with cholestyramine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.