Welchol is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to be used in combination with diet and exercise to:

This drug has certain limitations of use. To learn more about the uses of Welchol and its limitations, see the “Welchol uses” section below.

Drug details

Welchol belongs to a drug class called bile acid sequestrants.

Welchol is available in two forms. One is an oral tablet with a strength of 625 milligrams (mg). The drug is also available as a powder that’s mixed with liquid to form an oral suspension. You’ll swallow the suspension. The powder comes in a strength of 3.75 grams (g).

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Welchol, see the “Welchol uses” section below.

Welchol is a brand-name drug that contains the active drug colesevelam. This active drug is also available as a generic medication. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication.

The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

If you’re interested in using the generic form of Welchol, talk with your doctor. They can tell you if it comes in forms and strengths that can be used for your condition.

Welchol can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Welchol. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of Welchol, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Welchol, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Welchol can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Welchol. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Welchol’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Welchol aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effects in children

Welchol is used to decrease LDL cholesterol in certain children ages 10 to 17 years who have a condition known as heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. (For details about this use, see the “Welchol uses” section below.)

In clinical trials, children taking Welchol experienced many of the same side effects as adults. However, in addition to the side effects that occurred in adults, children also experienced:

  • headache
  • increased level of an enzyme (protein) called creatine phosphokinase
  • vomiting
  • common cold

If you would like to learn more about the side effects your child may experience, talk with their doctor or pharmacist.

Side effect details

Here are some details on certain side effects this drug may cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Welchol.

Digestive problems

Digestive problems may occur with Welchol. Most digestive problems that occur in people taking this drug are mild, such as nausea or constipation. Though these side effects can be uncomfortable, they’re usually not serious.

Your doctor may be able to recommend ways to ease nausea or constipation. One example is taking another medication to treat your nausea or constipation. They may suggest taking a stool softener such as docusate sodium (Colace).

In rare cases, digestive problems that occur with Welchol can be serious. This medication can cause a blockage in your intestines. This may cause symptoms such as severe abdominal pain or severe constipation. If you experience these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor or get urgent medical help right away.

If you have additional questions about the risk of digestive problems occurring while you take Welchol, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

High triglycerides and acute swelling of your pancreas

Welchol may increase triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat that’s measured in your blood. High triglyceride levels can increase your risk for problems such as heart attack or stroke.

In addition, high triglycerides can lead to acute pancreatitis (swelling of your pancreas). Pancreatitis can be serious and may lead to symptoms such as:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Before you start taking Welchol, your doctor will test your triglyceride levels. This is to see if it’s safe for you to take Welchol.* Your doctor may continue to monitor your blood triglyceride levels during your treatment. If your levels increase, your doctor may recommend a different medication.

If you develop any symptoms of pancreatitis, it’s important to see your doctor right away. Although this condition is rare, it can be serious and, in some cases, life threatening.

If you have additional questions about these risks occurring while you take Welchol, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* To learn more, see the “Welchol precautions” section below.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Welchol. This reaction was very rare in the drug’s clinical trials, though.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Welchol, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Welchol.

How does the dosage of Welchol 625-mg tablets compare with that of the oral suspension form?

The typical dosage of Welchol oral tablets and oral liquid suspension is the same even though they come in different strengths.

Welchol oral tablets come in a strength of 625 milligrams (mg). The drug is also available as a powder that’s mixed with liquid to create an oral suspension. You’ll swallow the suspension. The powder is available in a strength of 3.75 grams (g) and comes in a packet.

In most cases, the dosage of Welchol is 3.75 g daily. If your doctor prescribes the suspension form, you’ll likely use one packet per day. If they prescribe the tablets, you’ll likely take six 625-mg tablets daily. This adds up to 3.75 g.

For more about Welchol’s dosage, see the “Welchol dosage” section below. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is Welchol used for diarrhea after gallbladder removal? If so, what’s the dosage?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved Welchol as a treatment for diarrhea after gallbladder removal. However, Welchol may be used off-label for this condition. Off-label drug use is when an FDA-approved drug is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Since this medication is not approved for this purpose, there is no recommended dosage. To read more about approved uses for Welchol, see the “Welchol uses” section below.

If you’re looking for treatment options for diarrhea after your gallbladder was removed, talk with your doctor.

Does Welchol cause weight loss or weight gain?

Weight loss and weight gain were not common side effects reported by people taking Welchol in clinical trials. However, some people taking the drug in the trials had small weight changes. These changes ranged from a weight loss of about 1.3 pounds (lb)* to a weight gain of about 1.8 lb*.

These results varied depending on whether Welchol was used alone or with other medications. It’s also important to note that people in these studies who received a placebo (pill with no active drug) also had small weight changes.

Keep in mind that maintaining a balanced diet and exercising while you take Welchol is recommended. Weight changes may be due to adjustments in diet and exercise.

If you have any concerns about your weight and Welchol, talk with your doctor.

* One lb equals about 2.2 kilograms (kg). So the metric conversion for these weight changes would be a weight loss of about 0.6 kg to a weight gain of about 0.8 kg.

What’s the difference between Welchol and cholestyramine?

Both Welchol and cholestyramine are used to treat high cholesterol. Prevalite is the brand-name version of cholestyramine. (The brand-name drug Questran is no longer available.) Both Welchol and cholestyramine belong to a drug class called bile acid sequestrants. They work in similar ways to decrease cholesterol levels.

In addition to reducing cholesterol levels, Welchol is approved to help manage blood glucose levels. Cholestyramine, on the other hand, is also approved to treat itching caused by a partial bile duct obstruction. (This obstruction occurs when one of the ducts that carry bile becomes blocked.)

Both Welchol and cholestyramine are taken by mouth. The two medications are available as powders that are mixed into liquid suspensions. Welchol is also available as an oral tablet.

Common side effects of both Welchol and cholestyramine include digestive problems such as constipation or nausea.

If you have additional questions about Welchol and cholestyramine, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How long is Welchol safe to take?

If Welchol works well to treat your condition, your doctor will likely recommend that you take it long term. The drug is a safe and effective treatment option for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

If you have more questions about using Welchol long term, talk with your doctor.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Welchol to treat certain conditions. Welchol may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label drug use is when an FDA-approved drug is prescribed for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Welchol for high cholesterol

Welchol is approved for two indications (uses) regarding high cholesterol.

To learn more about managing high cholesterol in general, check out our cholesterol hub.

Primary hyperlipidemia in adults

Welchol is FDA-approved to decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in adults with a condition called primary hyperlipidemia. LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. For this condition, Welchol is used in combination with a balanced diet and exercise.

It’s important to note that Welchol has a limitation of use when it’s used for treating high cholesterol. The drug hasn’t been studied in the treatment of Fredrickson type I, III, IV, and V dyslipidemia (levels of fat in the blood that are too high or low). If you have any of these conditions, you can talk with your doctor to see if Welchol may be a good treatment option.

About primary hyperlipidemia

Primary hyperlipidemia is a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol. This means your high cholesterol may run in your family.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found naturally in your body. It can also be found in certain foods, such as cheese or eggs. Cholesterol helps your body make important substances such as hormones and vitamins. If you have higher levels of cholesterol than your body uses, this can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease.

Typically, people with primary hyperlipidemia do not experience symptoms. However, some people may develop yellow, fatty growths around the joints or eyes. Your doctor will give you a blood test called a lipid panel to determine whether you have high cholesterol.

Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia in children

Welchol is FDA-approved to decrease LDL cholesterol in certain children ages 10 to 17 years with a condition known as heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH). For the drug to be prescribed for girls,* they must have started their period. Welchol is meant to be used in combination with a balanced diet and exercise.

For this purpose, Welchol should be used only if changes in diet and exercise didn’t decrease cholesterol levels enough on their own.

It’s important to note that Welchol has a limitation of use when it’s used for treating high cholesterol. The drug hasn’t been studied in the treatment of Fredrickson type I, III, IV, and V dyslipidemia (levels of fat in the blood that are too high or low). If you have any of these conditions, you can talk with your doctor to see if Welchol may be a good treatment option.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “girl” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

About heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia

HeFH is a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol. “Heterozygous” refers to a form of familial hypercholesterolemia. With this form, one parent passes down a mutated familial hypercholesterolemia gene. (A gene mutation is an abnormal change in a gene.)

Most people do not experience symptoms with HeFH. Your doctor will give you a blood test called a lipid panel to determine whether you have high cholesterol.

For more information about cholesterol, see “Primary hyperlipidemia in adults” above.

Effectiveness for high cholesterol

Welchol is an effective treatment option to treat adults and certain children with high cholesterol. Bile acid sequestrants, such as Welchol, are recommended as treatment options for high cholesterol in the American College of Cardiology treatment guidelines. For information on how Welchol performed in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

In addition, colesevelam, the active drug ingredient in Welchol, is recommended in the American Heart Association guidelines for the treatment of children with HeFH.

Welchol for type 2 diabetes

Welchol is also approved to help manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It should be used in combination with a balanced diet and exercise.

It’s important to note that Welchol has limitations of use. The drug should not be used to treat type 1 diabetes or a complication of diabetes called diabetic ketoacidosis.

About type 2 diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, the level of sugar in your blood becomes high. A few symptoms of high blood sugar may include increased thirst, fatigue, or blurry vision.

Usually, a hormone called insulin tells your body to move sugar from your blood into your cells. However, with type 2 diabetes, your body becomes insulin resistant (it doesn’t properly respond to insulin). Over time, your body may also stop making its own insulin. As a result, sugar does not move into your cells and your blood sugar levels remain high.

Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term complications. Examples may include:

To learn more about managing type 2 diabetes, check out our diabetes hub.

Effectiveness for type 2 diabetes

Welchol has been found to be an effective treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes. Colesevelam, the active ingredient in Welchol, is mentioned as a treatment option in the American Diabetes Association’s guidelines.

For information on how Welchol performed in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Welchol and children

Welchol is approved to be used in certain children ages 10 to17 years with a condition known as heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH). For the drug to be prescribed for girls,* they must have started their period. Welchol is meant to be used in combination with a balanced diet and exercise.

For this purpose, Welchol should be used only if changes in diet and exercise didn’t decrease cholesterol levels enough on their own.

For more information about HeFH, see the “Welchol for high cholesterol” section above. You can also find out about the use of Welchol in children and the effectiveness of the medication.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “girl” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Welchol is approved to treat high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes in certain people. It should be used in combination with diet and exercise to treat these conditions. Maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent diabetes.

Your doctor may also recommend other medications for you to take with Welchol. For example, if you take Welchol for high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend medications that also help lower cholesterol, such as:

If you take Welchol for type 2 diabetes, your doctor will prescribe the drug with other medications that can help manage blood sugar levels, such as:

Talk with your doctor about what treatment options would be best for you and your condition.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

Drug forms and strengths

Welchol is available as an oral tablet that you swallow. It comes in a strength of 625 milligrams (mg) per tablet.

Welchol is also available as a powder that’s mixed with liquid to form an oral suspension. You’ll swallow the suspension. The powder comes in a strength of 3.75 grams (g) per packet.

You and your doctor will decide which form is best for you. They both work equally well and the side effects aren’t different between dosage forms. However, if you have trouble swallowing pills, your doctor will likely suggest taking the oral suspension.

Dosage for high cholesterol

The recommended dosage of Welchol for high cholesterol is 3.75 g per day.

If your doctor prescribes the tablet form, they may have you take six tablets once daily. Or they may have you take three tablets twice daily.

If your doctor prescribes the suspension form, you’ll mix one powder packet with a liquid to form an oral suspension to take once daily.

Dosage for type 2 diabetes

If you take Welchol for type 2 diabetes, your dose will likely be 3.75 g per day.

If your doctor prescribes the tablet form, they may have you take six tablets once daily. Or they may have you take three tablets twice daily.

If your doctor prescribes the suspension form, you’ll mix one powder packet with a liquid to form an oral suspension to take once daily.

Children’s dosage

Welchol is used to lower cholesterol in certain children. (For details, see the “Welchol uses” section above.) The recommended dosage for children ages 10 to 17 years is 3.75 g per day.

If your child’s doctor prescribes the tablet form, they’ll likely have your child take six tablets once daily. Or they may have your child take three tablets twice daily. Since the Welchol tablets are large in size, it may be easier for your child to take the suspension form of the drug.

For the suspension form, you’ll mix one powder packet with a liquid to form an oral suspension. Your child will likely take this once daily.

What if I miss a dose?

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what to do if you miss a dose of Welchol. In most cases, they’ll recommend taking your dose of Welchol as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, they may advise skipping your missed dose and continuing on your regular schedule. You should not take two doses of Welchol at once to make up for a missed dose.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Welchol is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Welchol is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Welchol, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Alternatives for high cholesterol

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat high cholesterol include:

Alternatives for type 2 diabetes

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat type 2 diabetes include:

As with all medications, the cost of Welchol can vary. To find current prices for Welchol tablets in your area, check out GoodRx.com. You can also find prices for Welchol powder packets.


The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Welchol. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.

Before approving coverage for Welchol, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Welchol, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Welchol, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Daiichi Sankyo, the manufacturer of Welchol, offers a savings card. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 877-264‐2440 or visit the program website.

To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.

Mail-order pharmacies

Welchol may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Welchol, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic version

Welchol is available in a generic form called colesevelam. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the price of the generic drug colesevelam compares with the price of Welchol, visit GoodRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Welchol and you’re interested in using colesevelam instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.

Welchol is used to treat high cholesterol in certain people. The drug is also used to manage blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

What is LDL cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found naturally in your body. It can also be found in certain foods, such as cheese or eggs. Cholesterol helps your body make important substances such as hormones and vitamins. If you have higher levels of cholesterol than your body uses, this can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease.

Welchol is specifically approved to treat a certain type of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol can build up in blood vessels, causing them to narrow or harden.

To treat high cholesterol

To treat high cholesterol, Welchol works in your digestive system to decrease cholesterol levels. Its mechanism of action (the way the drug works) is to bind to bile acid in your intestines. Bile acids help your body break down fats and absorb nutrients. After digestion, your body typically reabsorbs and recycles bile acids to use them again.

When Welchol binds to bile acid, it prevents bile acid from being absorbed back into your body. This means you have less bile acid. Your body needs bile acid, so it will make more by turning cholesterol into bile acid. This process helps decrease your cholesterol levels in your body. In addition, Welchol helps your body remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from your blood.

What is blood sugar?

Usually, when you eat food, your body releases a hormone called insulin. This hormone signals your body to move sugar from your blood into your cells so they can use it for energy. However, with type 2 diabetes, your body becomes insulin resistant (it doesn’t properly respond to insulin). Over time, your body may stop making its own insulin.

When your body can’t respond or make insulin as it should, sugar doesn’t move into your cells. And your blood sugar levels remain high.

Over time, high blood sugar can lead to long-term complications, such as heart disease or kidney damage.

To help manage blood sugar

It’s not known how Welchol works to manage blood sugar levels. If you have questions about the use of Welchol for type 2 diabetes, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

How long does it take to work?

Welchol works to lower cholesterol levels within 2 weeks of starting treatment.

It may take a little bit longer to help manage blood sugar levels. You may notice a decrease in blood sugar within 4 to 6 weeks. However, it can take as long as 12 to 18 weeks to see the maximum effects from this medication.

Welchol begins working right after you take your first dose. Even though the drug may be working for you, you may not notice that you feel any different. However, it’s still important that you continue taking Welchol as prescribed. You should not stop taking Welchol without first talking with your doctor.

There are no known interactions between alcohol and Welchol. However, alcohol may worsen some of the side effects of Welchol, such as nausea.

Also, other medications you may take with Welchol could interact with alcohol. For example, drugs called statins, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor). These medications can cause liver problems. Drinking alcohol may also cause liver problems. So taking a statin and consuming alcohol could increase your risk further.

In addition, drinking alcohol can affect your blood sugar levels. (One of Welchol’s uses is to help manage blood sugar with type 2 diabetes.)

It’s important to note that both heavy drinking and Welchol* can affect triglyceride levels and your risk of acute pancreatitis (swelling of your pancreas). So drinking heavily while taking Welchol could increase your risk further.

Talk with your doctor about how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to drink while taking Welchol.

* To learn more, see the “Welchol precautions” section below.

Welchol can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements. Welchol is not known to interact with foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Welchol and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Welchol. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Welchol.

Before taking Welchol, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Drugs that can interact with Welchol include:

  • The transplant medication cyclosporine. Welchol may cause cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral) not to work as well as it should. Your doctor will likely recommend that you take cyclosporine at least 4 hours before your dose of Welchol. They may also monitor your blood levels.
  • The seizure medication phenytoin. Taking Welchol with phenytoin (Dilantin) may increase your risk for seizures. To lower this risk, your doctor may recommend that you take your dose of phenytoin 4 hours before taking Welchol.
  • Thyroid hormone replacement medications. Welchol may decrease the level of thyroid hormone replacement medication that your body absorbs. This means they may not work as well for you. Your doctor may recommend that you take your thyroid hormone replacement drug at least 4 hours before your dose of Welchol. Examples of these thyroid medications may include:
    • levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithyroid)
    • liothyronine (Cytomel)
  • The blood thinner warfarin. If you take Welchol and warfarin (Jantoven), they may cause blood clots to form more quickly than they should. Throughout your treatment with Welchol and warfarin, your doctor will likely monitor your blood with blood tests. They can adjust your dose of warfarin if needed.
  • Oral birth control that contains ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone. Taking Welchol with certain oral birth control drugs may cause the birth control not to work as well as intended. To help prevent this interaction, your doctor will likely recommend that you take the oral birth control at least 4 hours before your dose of Welchol. Examples of oral birth control drugs that may interact include:
    • Loestrin
    • Junel
    • Larin
    • Microgestin
    • Blisovi
  • The blood pressure medication olmesartan. Taking Welchol and olmesartan (Benicar) can make olmesartan less effective than usual. Your doctor may recommend taking olmesartan 4 hours before your dose of Welchol to help prevent this interaction.
  • Diabetes medications called sulfonylureas. Taking Welchol and drugs called sulfonylureas may cause the sulfonylureas not to work as well as usual. Your doctor will likely recommend that you take your sulfonylurea 4 hours before taking Welchol. Examples of sulfonylureas include:

Welchol and herbs and supplements

Welchol may decrease how well your body absorbs certain vitamins. Specifically, Welchol can prevent your body from absorbing vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are also called fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins that can dissolve in fat).

If you take Welchol, you should take your vitamins at least 4 hours before your Welchol dose. This helps make sure your body absorbs them properly.

If you’re concerned about other herbs or supplements that you take, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist. They’ll be able to help determine if Welchol is safe to take with them.

Welchol and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Welchol. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Welchol, talk with your doctor.

You should take Welchol according to the instructions your doctor gives you.

Welchol oral tablets are taken by mouth.

Welchol is also available as a packet of powder that’s mixed with a liquid to form an oral suspension. If you take this form of Welchol, you should empty one full packet into a cup. Then add 8 ounces of water, fruit juice, or diet soda to the powder. Mix this combination well and drink the suspension. You should not consume Welchol powder without mixing it into a suspension.

When to take

You should take your dose of Welchol with a meal and a liquid. In some cases, you may need to separate your dose of Welchol from vitamins or other medications by at least 4 hours. For more information on which medications need to be separated from Welchol, see the “Welchol interactions” section above.

To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Accessible labels and containers

If your prescription label is hard to read, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels that have large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to direct you to one that does.

If you have trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can put Welchol tablets in an easy-open container. They also may be able to recommend tools that can make it simpler to open lids.

Taking Welchol with food

You should take your dose of Welchol along with a meal. If you take the tablets, be sure to swallow them with a liquid. For the suspension form, be sure to mix the powder with a liquid to form the oral suspension before taking your dose.

Can Welchol be crushed, split, or chewed?

You should swallow Welchol tablets whole. If you have trouble swallowing Welchol tablets, there’s another option. Welchol is also available in a powder you can mix with liquid to form an oral suspension that you can drink.

This drug comes with several precautions.

Before taking Welchol, talk with your doctor about your health history. Welchol may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include the ones mentioned below.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Welchol, see the “Welchol side effects” section above.

High triglyceride levels. If you have high triglyceride levels, you may be at an increased risk of pancreatitis when taking Welchol. This condition can be serious and, in some cases, life threatening. Your doctor will likely recommend medications to reduce your triglyceride levels before you start Welchol treatment.

Due to the risk of pancreatitis, if your triglyceride levels are greater than 500 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), use of Welchol is contraindicated. A contraindication is a factor or condition that could prevent your doctor from prescribing a drug due to risk of harm. In this case, your doctor will likely recommend a different treatment option for you.

A history of pancreatitis caused by high triglycerides. If you’ve had pancreatitis due to high triglyceride levels, you may be at an increased risk of it again with Welchol. Due to this risk, the drug is contraindicated for use in people with a history of pancreatitis caused by high triglycerides. This means that your doctor will likely recommend a different treatment option for you.

A history of intestinal blockage or other digestive conditions. Welchol may increase your risk of intestinal blockage. If you have a history of intestinal blockage, Welchol is contraindicated for use. This means that your doctor will likely recommend a different treatment option for you. In some cases of other digestive conditions, such as gastroparesis, your doctor may monitor you more often than usual for symptoms of intestinal blockage.

Malabsorption syndromes. Welchol may decrease your absorption of vitamins. If you have malabsorption syndrome (such as problems absorbing fats), Welchol may increase your risk of developing a vitamin deficiency. Your doctor will likely recommend that you take your vitamins at least 4 hours before Welchol. They may also monitor certain vitamin levels and symptoms of vitamin deficiencies throughout your treatment.

Phenylketonuria. Welchol contains a protein called phenylalanine. If you have a condition called phenylketonuria (PKU), this protein can build up in your body. So before taking Welchol, be sure your doctor knows if you have PKU. They can help determine if the drug is a safe treatment option for you.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Welchol or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Welchol. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.

Pregnancy. It’s not known if Welchol is safe to take during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Welchol and pregnancy” section below.

Breastfeeding. It may be safe to breastfeed while taking Welchol. For more information, see the “Welchol and breastfeeding” section below.

It’s not known if Welchol may be safe to take during pregnancy. There haven’t been any clinical trials in humans to determine if this drug may affect a developing fetus.

Animal trials did not show an increased risk of problems with fetal development (commonly known as “birth defects”) when pregnant animals were given Welchol. However, animal studies do not always indicate what may happen in humans.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before you start Welchol treatment. They can advise you on the right medication for you.

It’s not known if Welchol is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Welchol.

Keep in mind that taking Welchol with some types of oral birth control can make the birth control less effective than usual. So you may need to space out the timing of Welchol and the birth control. For details, see the “Welchol interactions” section above.

For more information about taking Welchol during pregnancy, see the “Welchol and pregnancy” section above.

It may be safe to breastfeed while taking Welchol. The medication is not believed to pass into breast milk. So Welchol is not likely to affect a child who is breastfed.

If you’re breastfeeding or planning to, talk with your doctor to see if Welchol may be a safe treatment option for you.

Taking more than the recommended dosage of Welchol can lead to serious side effects.

Do not take more Welchol than your doctor recommends.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include digestive problems, such as severe constipation. For more information, see the “Welchol side effects” section above.

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Welchol from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle or package. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

You should store Welchol oral tablets and packets at a room temperature of 77°F (25°C). If needed, you can keep them at 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Welchol and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.