Colestid Side Effects

The generically named colestipol medication is sold in the United States by Pfizer as Colestid. It is a type of medication prescribed primarily to reduce the low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol levels, in your bloodstream. It functions, the Mayo Clinic states, by attaching itself to intestinal substances that are carried out of your body with the medicine to reduce the LDL. Colestid also may be prescribed for other problems such as acidic bile diarrhea, an overdose of digitalis glycoside, too much oxalate in your urine and partial biliary obstruction itching.


The only serious common side effect of Colestid reported is constipation. By affecting your intestinal digestion of food, the medication also may cause a fluid extraction malfunction there. This means that an excess of liquid may be withdrawn from your digesting food. This makes your stools contain less fluid, which makes it harder to pass them through your colon and out the rectum. The result is constipation, which is difficulty making a movement of your bowels. Because constipation is a serious side effect of Colestid, consult your physician as soon as possible if it happens to you while taking the medicine.


Colestid also can cause the exact opposite problem of constipation in some people. Diarrhea, or loose and often liquid-like stools, may result from taking the medication, especially when you first start your treatment with it. Diarrhea often causes cramps in the abdomen and may make frequent trips to the restroom urgent. It is not serious, however, reports, and should pass in the several days after you have begun taking Colestid.


Nausea, too, is a common and non-serious side effect of Colestid. It may make you feel queasy with stomach upset, feeling as if you are going to vomit. Throwing up often is another side effect of the medicine. Other stomach problems from taking Colestid may include heartburn and indigestion as well as an excess of gas. Too much gas also may accumulate in your intestines. Feeling bloated, which is a sensation of being full even without eating, is another common temporary side effect of Colestid that will go away in several days in most people. Report any non-serious side effect to your physician if it persists for a week or more.

About this Author

Carole Anne Tomlinson has been a registered nurse working in a variety of medical environments for more than 25 years. She now serves as the nursing supervisor for a chemical dependency facility. She has also written numerous articles for a variety of websites.