Welchol contains Colesevelam which may be prescribed for you to help lower your cholesterol levels. Although your body needs cholesterol to make vitamin D, hormones, and other substances in your body that helps to digest the food you eat, without a proper diet your cholesterol levels can rise. There are a few types of cholesterol at work in your body and it is the ‘bad’ cholesterol that can be harmful if you are not eating healthy and keeping your weight down as you should. Untreated high cholesterol can put you at risk for cardiovascular disease and other health problems.
Welchol is a bile acid sequestrant drug that is prescribed to lower bad cholesterol, also known as LDL which stands for low-density lipoproteins. Your liver produces bile acid by using the cholesterol in your body. Welchol works to remove bile acid from your body so your liver will make more bile acid and use up more cholesterol. This results in lower cholesterol levels and reduces other health risks caused by high levels in your bloodstream, such as narrowed arteries, heart attack, and stroke. Welchol should be taken with a meal and a full glass of water (or other liquid).
As Welchol works to reduce your LDL, it also benefits the good cholesterol called HDL for high-density lipoproteins by raising their level. HDL takes the cholesterol from the cells and carries it back to your liver where it is either broken down or excreted from your body as waste. Ideally, your doctor will recommend that you take Welchol in addition to eating a healthy diet and exercising.
Welchol has also been found beneficial at lowering glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes when taken along with their existing treatment or medications. Although it is not clear why Welchol works well at lowering blood glucose levels, it may be the effects that bile acid sequestrants have on certain hormones.
Ask your doctor if Welchol is safe to take if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast feeding. Tell your healthcare worker about other health conditions you have that may affect your ability to safely take Welchol. Supply a current list of any Rx and OTC drugs you are taking, remembering to include vitamin or dietary supplements and naturopathic remedies as the efficacy of Welchol may be compromised when taken with other types of medications.
You should not take Welchol if any of the following apply to you: history of bowel obstruction; very high levels of triglycerides in your blood; a history of pancreatitis caused by high triglycerides. You may be required to have regular blood tests to monitor cholesterol levels.