Fenofibric Acid (oral)

In conjunction with a healthy diet, fenofibric acid can be very helpful in lowering the levels of fatty substances in the body, such as LDL and triglycerides, as well as cholesterol.

Overview

Fenofibric acid is a prescription medication available under the brand names of Fibricor and Trilipix, and it is often used in tandem with other cholesterol medication, and a healthy diet, in order to help establish a better condition of well-being in patients. If left unchecked, high cholesterol can lead to pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas that can cause serious health issues.

This medication works by increasing the level of a specific enzyme which breaks down various kinds of fats found in the bloodstream. It also helps to elevate the level of good cholesterol in the bloodstream, which is HDL. Most doctors will recommend a change of lifestyle to patients being treated with fenofibric acid, including lots of fresh air and exercise, avoidance of smoking and drinking, and a sincere effort to lose weight.

In its tablet form, fenofibric acid is generally taken once each day, without chewing or crushing the tablet, and it may be taken with or without food, at the discretion of the patient. To get the maximum benefit from this medication, it should be taken at approximately the same time each day. This will also help you to remember to take it, since you can associate the dosage with other activities that you do routinely at a certain time of day, e.g. having breakfast.

While some patients require as much as two or three months of treatment with fenofibric acid before seeing noticeable positive results on cholesterol levels, other patients respond more quickly and experience the benefits within a week or two.

Condition Treated

  • Reduction of cholesterol and triglycerides

Type Of Medicine

  • Lipid-regulating agent

Side Effects

While fenofibric acid can impart some highly beneficial advantages to patients being treated with it, this medication can sometimes carry some unwanted side effects as well. You should be on the alert and lookout for these after taking the medication because side effects are highly unpredictable from one patient to another' some patients experience no side effects whatsoever, and some patients experience some very severe side effects. These potential side effects also vary in degree, with some being relatively minor and some very likely to subside all by themselves without treatment. It is also possible for some of the side effects to be severe enough that they make a patient uncomfortable and require treatment of their own.

The first and most serious side effect you should be looking for is an allergic reaction because the symptoms provoked by an allergic reaction can become severe enough to become life-threatening. If you experience any of the following side effects after taking fenofibric acid, seek emergency medical attention as quickly as possible, before your condition worsens.

  • Extreme itchiness
  • Pronounced swelling of the facial area, especially around the mouth, nose, lips, and cheeks
  • Hives and/or rashes appearing on the skin
  • Disorientation or dizziness
  • A severe tightness being felt in the chest, sometimes accompanied by difficulty breathing

Some of the most commonly occurring side effects reported by patients are as follows:

  • Unexplained weakness or tiredness
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Chills
  • Body aches and pains
  • Congestion in the ears
  • Fever
  • Persistent headaches
  • Loss of voice or hoarseness in the voice
  • Nasal congestion

Side effects in the grouping below occur much less frequently in patients, but are a little more severe in nature, and should be reported to your doctor at the earliest opportunity:

  • Cough which produces mucus
  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Urge to urinate more frequently and more urgently than normal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pains in the sides or in the back
  • Pain in the bladder
  • Cloudy urine
  • Bloody urine
  • Blurred vision or other vision problems
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • General feeling of illness or extreme discomfort
  • Problems with mobility
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Severe tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Pain in the legs or in the arms
  • A pounding in the ears
  • Shivering or trembling
  • Nervousness or irritability
  • Swollen joints, especially around the ankles and knees
  • Profuse sweating, even without exertion.

In the category of very mild side effects which don't need medical attention, there are the following:

  • Stomach discomfort such as frequently upset stomach
  • Unusual belching
  • Constipation or difficulty with bowel movements
  • Heartburn and/or indigestion
  • Tenderness or pain in the cheekbones or around the eyes
  • Acid stomach
  • Sour stomach

Dosage

While dosing will generally be different from patient to patient, there is a standard dosage which can be a good starting point for most patients. Once you begin a program of treatment with fenofibric acid, your doctor will be able to monitor your cholesterol levels and determine how well your body is responding to the treatment. This may then call for an increase or decrease in your dosage, in order to achieve optimal effects with minimum dosage.

Your doctor will also want to monitor how well your body is tolerating the medication, so at each doctor visit, you should report any symptoms or side effects that you observe after taking the medication. When taking fenofibric acid, be sure to closely adhere to your doctor's instructions and all those printed instructions on the label of your medication.

There are a number of other factors which will affect your daily dosage recommendation, including the strength of the medicine itself, how frequently you take the medication each day, and the length of time that fenofibric acid is prescribed to handle your medical condition.

Most adults will be prescribed a dosage of fenofibric acid between 45 and 135 mg each day, and this total may be divided up into two or more dosages throughout the day. Dosage for children is not really standardized, and if a doctor approves of treating a person under the age of 18 years old with this medication, it will very likely be necessary to experiment with the precise dosage to achieve desired results.

If you happen to forget about taking one of your daily dosages of fenofibric acid, it is permissible to take the missed medicine as soon as you think of it. However, if you don't think of it until you are nearing the next regularly scheduled dosage time, it's much better to just skip the missed dosage entirely, and just take the next dosage by itself. It's never a good idea to double up on dosages just for the sake of getting back on schedule.

If you suspect that you have overdosed on fenofibric acid, or that someone you know has overdosed, the best thing to do is call your doctor's office immediately, and if that does not resolve the situation, you can call the Poison Help Line number at 1-800-222-1222.

Interactions

There are several diseases and several other medications which are known to interact with fenofibric acid, and for this reason all patients must take great care to avoid the possibility of such adverse reactions, because they may affect your immediate and long-term health. Patients who have experienced any of the following medical conditions in their history should not take fenofibric acid because of the possibility of a negative reaction.

  • Hematological changes
  • Biliary cirrhosis
  • Cholelithiasis
  • HDL cholesterol
  • Liver disease
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Renal dysfunction

Some of the medications which are known to interact with fenofibric acid are shown in the list below:

  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B12
  • Aspirin
  • COQ10
  • Victoza
  • Synthroid
  • Plavix
  • Invokana
  • Januvia
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Pregabalin
  • Nexium
  • Metoprolol tartrate
  • Metoprolol succinate ER
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Zetia
  • Cyclosporine
  • Any kind of blood thinner such as Jantoven, Coumadin, or warfarin
  • Water pills
  • Birth-control pills
  • Beta blockers such as propranolol, metoprolol tartrate, carvedilol, and atenolol
  • Hormone replacement therapy medication

As you can see from the above list, some vitamins have interactions with fenofibric acid. For this reason, it's very important to compile a full list of all other medications you are currently taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements, over-the-counter drugs, and other prescription medications, because the potential exists for any of these to have an adverse reaction with fenofibric acid.

Your doctor can review this list and ensure that you do not concurrently take medications which conflict with each other, so you can avoid unnecessary health risks. You can use the same list to present to a resident doctor at an emergency clinic or any other kind of healthcare clinic that you may have to visit unexpectedly. By knowing all of your current medications and their dosages, any doctor should be able to avoid prescribing medications which interact with each other and cause problems for a patient.

Warnings

It is crucial that you do not miss any regularly scheduled appointments with your doctor, and that you do not miss any laboratory tests which have been arranged for you. These tests and consultations will help to determine whether or not the medication is working as it should to lower your triglyceride levels and your cholesterol level. If progress is being made, then it would be worthwhile to continue your treatment with fenofibric acid, otherwise some other alternative may need to be explored. Your doctor will also probably want to check your blood and urine results to see if there are any undesirable impacts on your body.

If you should notice any kind of unusual weakness, tenderness, or muscle pain, you should report this to your doctor immediately, since these may be symptoms of a fairly serious problem with your muscles called myopathy.

You should also let your doctor know immediately if you have dark-colored urine, diarrhea, fevers, cramps or muscle spasms, or if you suddenly feel very weak, because all these have been linked to another serious muscle problem called rhabdomyolysis. This muscle condition can trigger kidney problems that will require even more treatment.

It is possible that you may develop gallstones while being treated with fenofibric acid, so if you notice that you are suffering severe stomach pain accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting, you should alert your doctor to this situation.

In the past, patients have reported the development of pancreatitis after being treated with fenofibric acid, and this medical condition can be identified by symptoms such as severe and sudden stomach pain, constipation, fever and/or chills, nausea and/or vomiting, and unanticipated lightheadedness.

It's also possible for serious skin reactions to develop after taking fenofibric acid, so be on the lookout for such symptoms as:

  • Reddish skin lesions
  • Severe and sudden development of acne or skin rashes
  • Blistering or peeling
  • Loosening of the skin
  • Sores and/or ulcers on the skin

If you should develop any signs of a fever such as unusual bleeding, sore throat, persistent cough, chills, and sudden weakness, make sure your doctor is aware of these developments, because they may be symptomatic of an infection which has resulted from an unusually low count of white blood cells. Since this medication has been known to impact white blood cell count, it is possible for such infections to occur in patients being treated with fenofibric acid.

It is best that you do not start taking any other medications while you are being treated with fenofibric acid, at least until you have thoroughly discussed this new medication with your doctor.

Storage

Fenofibric acid should be stored away from direct lighting and should never be frozen. It is best to be stored at room temperature, from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and where there is no abundance of moisture. For this reason, the household bathroom is not a good place to store the medication, since humidity routinely builds up there when showering and bathing are going on.

Fenofibric acid should be kept out of the reach of all pets and children, preferably in a location so high that it cannot be reached even while standing on furniture. It should also not be kept in a pill reminder, since few of these have access control mechanisms on them, so children might easily break into them.

It is best to discard expired or unused fenofibric acid since there is no way of knowing whether it has been degraded or not, but the medication should not be simply thrown in the trash or flushed down a toilet. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about proper disposal methods for this medication, so that it cannot become an unintended danger to someone.

Summary

Fenofibric acid is a medication which elevates the level of a specific enzyme in the body which is responsible for breaking down harmful fats like LDL and triglycerides. It is sometimes used in conjunction with other cholesterol-lowering medications to produce the desired effects in a patient. It will almost always be prescribed as one component of an overall treatment program that includes a healthy diet, lots of exercise, and plenty of fresh air.

While this medication does not have too many side effects or serious drug interactions, these should always be monitored closely as a means of determining how well the body is tolerating the medication. When taking fenofibric acid, it will be necessary to have blood levels checked frequently, so it can be determined if the medication is having the desired effect, and cholesterol is being lowered.