Cholesterol Treatment

Lowering Cholesterol with Bile Acids

The harmful effects of high cholesterol levels are known by one and all. High cholesterol level in the blood can lead to several health problems such as angina and can even cause heart attack. People with high cholesterol levels are constantly running at a risk of heart diseases. Thus there is a constant effort to lower cholesterol by various methods.

One very effective way of lowering cholesterol is the use of bile acids. For bringing down the cholesterol bile acid sequestrants are used.

What are bile acid sequestrants?

By essence bile acid sequestrants are medications that are intended to reduce the level of LDL in the blood. Some popular bile acid sequestrants are cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), and colesevelam (Welchol).

Usually these sequestrants are used in combination with some other medicine to bring down the cholesterol levels successfully. The reason for the same is that these bile acid sequestrants offer only modest results.

These medicines are usually available in both powdered and tablet form. The powdered form can be mixed with water, milk and even juice. If you want you could even add these sequestrants to food like applesauce, canned food like pears or soup.

How do bile acid sequestrants work?

The bile acids bind the intestine and cause the excretion of bile acid in the stool.
As a result there is a lack of bile acids in the body. This forces the liver in turn to produce more bile acids to replace bile acids that have been lost into the stool. To serve this purpose, the liver converts the cholesterol into bile acids. As a result, the total cholesterol level is lowered.

Why use bile acid sequestrants?

Bile acid sequestrants are of great help to people suffering from high cholesterol levels. They are of great help in reducing LDL. Bile acid sequestrants are particularly of great help to people suffering from heart diseases or with high risk rate of heart diseases.

Usually bile acid sequestrants are combined with other drugs like statins for people with high cholesterol levels. If you are suffering from familial dysbetalipoproteinemia or have a high triglyceride level, then these drugs should be strictly avoided.

Are any side effects involved?

There are several side effects that occur in the aftermath of consumption of these bile acid sequestrants. Some of the most common side effects associated with this medicine include constipation, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating and also diarrhea.

Bile acid sequestrants also curb the absorption of other drugs into the bloodstream. These drugs could be warfarin, digoxin, thiazide diuretics and others. To avoid this, you must take other medicines either one hour prior or four to eight hours after the administration of these sequestrants.