Welchol Side Effects

by on July 2, 2012


The most common side effects of Welchol (Colesevelam) are constipation, indigestion, headache, weakness, tiredness, stomach upset, mild stomach pain, nausea, sore throat, and muscle aches. Common side effects usually do not require medical attention however, if they persist or become bothersome you should contact your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Common Welchol Side Effects

The most common Welchol side effects include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Stomach upset
  • Mild stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches

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 Welchol Side Effects

An allergic reaction can occur with Welchol. If you experience any of the following symptoms indicating an allergic reaction, get emergency medical help right away.

  • Hives or itching
  • Swelling of lips, face, throat, or tongue
  • Tightness in chest
  • Difficulty breathing

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

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Choking
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Symptoms of pancreatitis such as; severe back or stomach pain with or without vomiting or nausea, and stomach swelling or tenderness.
  • Throat pain or irritation
  • Severe or persistent headache or dizziness
  • Severe or persistent diarrhea

Existing Medical Conditions

You should not use Welchol if you have any of the following conditions; an allergy to any of the ingredients in Welchol; a history of bowel problems such as slow bowel muscle movement, blockage, or paralysis; a history of major bowel or stomach surgery, or are at risk of a bowel blockage; have extremely high triglyceride levels, or a history of pancreas inflammation caused by high triglyceride levels; or have type 1 diabetes or ketoacidosis. Certain medical conditions may require special tests or a dosage adjustment to ensure you can safely take Welchol.

Talk to your doctor before using this medication if you have any of the following conditions; allergies to any medications, foods, or other substances, trouble swallowing, hemorrhoids, a history of high triglyceride levels, stomach or bowel problems, or have low levels of vitamins A, D, E, or K. If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, you should talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking this medication. If you are breastfeeding you should also talk to your doctor before taking this medication as it is not known if it passes through breast milk or what effects it may have on a newborn.


Welchol can lower your blood sugar levels. The symptoms of low blood sugar may include the following; drowsiness, faintness, weakness, sweating, dizziness, tremors, chills, headache, or anxiety. It is important to carry a sugar source with you at all times to utilize in the occurrence of a low blood sugar episode. It is also recommended that you check your blood sugar levels regularly while taking Welchol; if readings are unstable and you are taking this medication exactly as prescribed, notify your doctor. Individuals with diabetes should carry and ID card at all times stating that they have this condition.

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 you doctor if you take any of the following medications as they could cause a dangerous interaction if taken with Welchol.

  • Cyclosporine (Restasis)
  • Insulin or sulfonylureas
  • Glyburide
  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Phenytoin
  • Thyroid hormone replacements
  • Warfarin

Welchol is a medication used to reduce high cholesterol levels; it is also used in conjunction with other drugs to treat type 2 diabetes. Certain medical conditions may require special tests or dosage adjustments to ensure that you can safely take this medication. If you experience a serious side effect or if a common one becomes bothersome, contact your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.