Gemfibrozil (Oral)

Overview

Gemfibrozil is used alongside a proper diet to treat high triglyceride levels in the blood and high cholesterol. It is taken orally in tablet form and is also known under US brand name Lopid. This can help prevent the development of pancreatitis which is caused by high levels of fat (triglycerides) in the blood. This drug can also be used to prevent certain types of heart problems in those patients who possess high-risk factors for heart problems. This medication is only available via prescription from your doctor and is available in the dosage form of tablet and capsule.

Condition(s) treated?

  • Primary prevention of heart attack

Type of medicine?

  • Lipid-regulating agent oral tablet

Side Effects

Along with the intended effects of this drug, gemfibrozil can produce some unwanted side effects. Not all of these side effects may be present, but if they occur, you may need to seek medical attention.

Inform your doctor or healthcare professional if you suffer from any of the following side effects whilst taking gemfibrozil:

More common side effects

  • Frequent urge to urinate

Incidence not known

  • Unusual weakness or tiredness

Some side effects that occur gemfibrozil usually don't require medical attention. You will find these side effects begin to reduce as your body starts adjusting to the medication. If, however, these side effects become bothersome, you should contact your local pharmacist or healthcare professional for advice on ways to reduce or prevent these side effects. Inform your doctor if the following side effects persist or become worse.

More common side effects

  • Belching

Less common side effects

  • Sensation of spinning

Some side effects may occur that are not listed above. You should contact your doctor or healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual. Remember you can report all side effects to the FDA regardless of severity.

Dosage

The final dose of any medication will depend on a number of factors and is typically based on individual response. Your doctor will take into account your age, weight and height, any other medications you are currently taking, alongside any other medical conditions you suffer from. The strength of the medication and your reaction to the first dose will also be factors in determining the final dose of this medication.

For high cholesterol or triglycerides:

The typical adult dose is 600 milligrams twice daily. This is taken thirty minutes before taking your morning and evening meal.

Children: For children, the dose and use will be determined by your doctor.

If you miss a dose of this medication, you should take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to your next scheduled dose, you should skip the missed dose and revert back to your regular dosing schedule. Under no circumstances should you double dose to make up for a missed dose.

Remember that you should not alter your dose without speaking with your doctor or healthcare professional beforehand. If you take too much of a medication it can increase your risk of side effects and interactions, and if you take too little of this medication it may reduce the effectiveness.

Interactions

Interactions between drugs can cause severe side effects and reduce the effective nature of either drug you are taking. To help minimise the risk of these interactions, it's important that you let your doctor or healthcare professional know all the current and past medications you are taking. This should include all prescription, nonprescription drugs, all vitamins and herbal products. You should also let your doctor know of any other medical conditions you are currently suffering from as this can increase your risk of certain interactions. Inform them of medical conditions that run in your family history too.

The use of this medication alongside any of the following medications is not recommended. Your doctor may avoid treating you with this drug altogether or alter some of the other medications you are taking.

  • Ciprofibrate

The use of this medication alongside any of the following medications is not usually recommended, but in some cases, it may be necessary for your treatment. If you are prescribed both medications at the one time, your doctor may alter the dose or frequency in which you use either medication.

  • Imatinib

The use of this medication alongside any of the following medications may produce an increased risk of some side effects, but in some cases, the use of both these medications may be required. If you are given both medications at the same time, your doctor may alter the dose or frequency in which you use either drug.

  • Rosiglitazone

Let your doctor know if you are taking any of the following medications whilst taking this drug:

  • Lamivudine / zidovudine

Other medical conditions:

The presence of other medical conditions can affect the use of this medication. Ensure you inform your healthcare professional or doctor if you suffer from any other medical conditions, especially:

  • Muscle problems (eg, muscle tenderness, pain, or weakness), history of - caution should be exercised as this drug can make these conditions worse.

Warnings

Allergies Let your doctor or healthcare professional know if you have ever suffered from an allergic reaction to this medication or any other similar medications. You should also make them aware of any other allergic reactions you suffer from including animals, dyes, preservatives or foods.

Pediatric population Appropriate studies have not been conducted on the relationship of age to the effects of this drug in the pediatric population. Therefore, efficacy and safety have not yet been established.

Geriatric population No information is currently available on the relationship of age to the effects of gemfibrozil in the older population. However, older patients are more likely to suffer from age-related kidney problems, which therefore means they can be more sensitive to certain side effects, which could require a degree of caution to be exercised in those receiving this drug.

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding: This drug is under FDA pregnancy category C which means it is unknown whether this drug can harm an unborn baby. You should inform your doctor or healthcare professional if you are currently pregnant or intend on becoming pregnant whilst you are using this drug.

It is unknown whether this drug passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing infant. It's best to avoid breastfeeding whilst you are receiving this medication. You should let your doctor know if you intend on breastfeeding.

It's important that your doctor monitors your progress at regular checkups to ensure that this medication is working properly to lower your triglyceride (fat) and cholesterol levels and to decide if you should continue taking it. Urine and blood tests can be used to check for unwanted effects.

Don't use this medication in conjunction with repaglinide, dasabuvir, or simvastatin. The use of these medicines together could produce serious unwanted effects.

This medication can increase your risk of having gallstones. You should inform your doctor immediately if you suffer from severe nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.

Check with your doctor immediately if you suffer from any unexplained muscle tenderness, pain, or weakness, especially if you also have a fever or unusual tiredness. These could be signs of a serious muscle condition known as myopathy.

Check with your doctor immediately if you suffer from dark-colored urine, a fever, diarrhea, muscle spasms or cramps, muscle stiffness or pain, or feel very weak or tired. These could be symptoms of a serious muscle condition known as rhabdomyolysis, which could lead to kidney problems.

Do not stop taking this medication without consulting with your doctor or healthcare professional first. When you stop taking this medication, your blood cholesterol levels could rise again. Your healthcare professional or doctor may want you to follow a specific diet to help avoid this. This diet may be low in sugar, fat and cholesterol.

If you are taking this drug alongside colestipol, then make sure you take it at least two hours before or after taking gemfibrozil.

Storage

This medication should be stored in a closed container at room temperature and kept away from moisture, heat and light. Prevent this medication from freezing and keep out of the reach of children. Do not keep any medication that has passed its expiry date or is no longer needed. You should ask your local pharmacist or healthcare professional for advice on the best way to dispose of this medication.

Summary

When taken correctly, Gemfibrozil is successful in treating very high triglyceride and cholesterol levels in patients who suffer from pancreatitis. Due to a large number of interactions possible, it's important that you let your doctor know all of the current and past medications you are taking. This drug should not be used whilst breastfeeding and you should let your doctor know if you are currently pregnant or intend on becoming pregnant whilst taking this medication. This efficacy and safety of this drug have not yet been established in the use of children. You should take this medicine on a regular basis in order to gain the most benefit from it. You should take it at a similar time each day, use a diary to help remember this. It's important to continue taking this medicine even if you feel sick. It is very important to follow the advice of your doctor about exercise and diet and it could take up to three months before you feel the full benefits of this drug. If you feel this medication is not working as it should, you should contact your doctor. Keep all doctors' appointments so that you can be monitored for progress and side effects. If you require any further information on the use of this medication or have any questions or queries, you should contact your doctor or local healthcare professional for advice.