Gemfibrozil Side Effects

by on June 30, 2012

Summary

Gemfibrozil is a medication used to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. The most common side effects are diarrhea, indigestion, and stomach pain. These effects usually do not require medical attention however, if they persist or become bothersome you should contact your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Common Gemfibrozil Side Effects

The most common gemfibrozil side effects include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach pain

Less serious side effects also include the following:

  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Mild joint or muscle pain
  • Mild nausea or vomiting
  • Numbness or tingly feeling
  • Cold symptoms such as; stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat
  • ¬†Impotence, difficulty having an orgasm, or loss of interest in sex

The side effects listed above usually do not require medical attention as they will commonly diminish when your body adjusts to the medication. Your doctor may also be able to advise you of ways to reduce or prevent these common side effects from occurring. However, if any persist or become bothersome you should notify your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Serious Gemfibrozil Side Effects

An allergic reaction can occur while taking a gemfibrozil medication. If you experience any of the following symptoms indicating an allergic reaction, get emergency medical help right away.

  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the lips, face, throat, and tongue

Many other side effects can occur that are not indicative of an allergic reaction but that are still very serious. If you experience any of the following severe side effects, call your doctor immediately.

  • Sharp pain in upper stomach (especially after a meal)
  • Jaundice
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos
  • Pale skin, easy bruising, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, unusual bleeding, trouble concentrating, purple or red pinpoint spots under skin
  • Unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness; especially if accompanied by fever, dark urine, or unusual tiredness.

Existing Medical Conditions

You should not take Lopid if you have any of the following conditions; liver disease, severe kidney disease, gallbladder disease, or if you are taking the medication repaglinide to treat type 2 diabetes. If you are pregnant or may become pregnant you should talk to your doctor before taking this medication; Gemfibrozil has been placed in category C by the FDA, which means that it is unknown if it could be harmful to an unborn baby.

It is also important to talk to your doctor if you are breastfeeding as it is unknown if this medication passes through breast milk or the effect it could have on a newborn. The following medications should be taken 2 hours before or after taking a gemfibrozil medication; colestipol, colesevelam, or cholestyramine.

Lifestyle Factors

Gemfibrozil is used to treat the very high cholesterol and triglyceride levels associated with several heart conditions and pancreatitis. It is important to use this medication in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle in order to treat the root causes of the existing medical condition. You can also maximize the potential of this drug when you use it with a healthy diet, weight control, and exercise. While taking Lopid you should avoid alcohol and foods that are high in fat or cholesterol as these substances may interfere with your treatment and inhibit the benefits of this drug.

Administration

Gemfibrozil should be taken exactly as prescribed and not in larger or smaller doses. This medication is usually taken at a dose of 600 milligrams twice per day or as directed by your doctor. This medication should be taken regularly in order to get the most benefit from it; be sure to get your prescription refilled early when you are getting low to avoid running out of medication. Blood tests will be done frequently while taking Lopid to ensure that it is helping your condition and not causing any harmful side effects. Liver and kidney function tests may also be needed while you are taking this medication.

Other Medications

It is important to inform your doctor of all over the counter, prescription, and herbal medications that you are taking prior to starting a new one. Notify your doctor before taking Lopid if you are taking any of the following medications as they could cause a dangerous interaction to occur.

  • Blood thinners such as warfarin
  • Insulin and diabetes medications that are taken by mouth
  • Other cholesterol-lowering drugs such as; atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, or simvastatin.
  • Colestipol
  • Cholestyramine
  • Colesevelam

Gemfibrozil is a medication used to reduce very high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. You should avoid taking this medication if you have certain medical conditions. It is important to utilize this medication in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle in order to maximize its potential and treat root causes. If you experience a severe side effect while taking this medication or a common one becomes bothersome, notify your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.