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Questran vs Colestid

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Questran Information

Colestid Information


Dosage Information

Side Effects

Safety Information


Market Information


For patients with high cholesterol levels, certain drugs that interfere with the body's absorption of cholesterol can help in reducing overall cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, often referred to as "bad" cholesterol. Questran and Colestid are two such drugs that are prescribed for hypercholesterolemia. They each impact different processes within the gastrointestinal system but both have effects on lowering systemic cholesterol levels. Questran, known by its generic name cholestyramine, is a bile acid sequestrant that binds to bile acids in your intestine forming a complex which is excreted from your body. This results in the liver using more of the body's stored cholesterol to make new bile acids thereby reducing the level of circulating LDLs. On other hand, Colestid or colestipol works similarly but has been found to be less potent than Questran and may need larger doses for comparably effective reductions in LDL.

Questran vs Colestid Side By Side

Brand NameQuestranColestid
ContraindicationsShould not be taken with digoxin, warfarin, thyroid medicine, or some diabetes drugs. Avoid taking other oral medications within 1 hour before or 4-6 hours after Questran to prevent absorption interference.Should not be taken with digoxin, warfarin, thyroid medicine, or some diabetes drugs. Avoid taking other oral medications within 1 hour before or 4-6 hours after Colestid to prevent absorption interference.
CostFor brand name, around $300 for 60 sachets (4 g). Generic cholestyramine ranges from approximately $0.50 to $2 per dose.For brand name, about $250 for 30 tablets (1 g). Generic colesevelam costs around $0.40-$1 per day depending on form and dosage.
Generic NameCholestyramineColestipol
Most Serious Side EffectSigns of an allergic reaction, severe stomach/abdominal pain, unusual fatigue or tiredness indicating anemia, abnormal changes in vision.Signs of an allergic reaction, severe stomach pain, ongoing constipation, pancreatitis symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding.
Severe Drug InteractionsInterferes with the absorption of many oral medications.Interferes with the absorption of many oral medications.
Typical Dose1-6 packets/day for adults, with 2 packets/day being generally sufficient.Initiated at 2 grams once or twice per day, can be increased to 2–16 grams per day.

What is Questran?

Cholestyramine (the generic name for Questran) was one of the first bile acid sequestrants to be approved by the FDA in 1973. This class of drugs marked a significant advancement from earlier cholesterol-lowering medications. Questran works by binding to bile acids in your intestines, forming a complex that is excreted from your body. This process reduces the concentration of bile acids returning to your liver and forces your liver to convert more cholesterol into bile acids which results in lower levels of circulating cholesterol. It's commonly prescribed for hypercholesterolemia, or high blood cholesterol.

Colestipol (the generic name for Colestid), like Cholestyramine, is also a bile acid sequestrant but came later on the scene with its approval by the FDA in 1977. Both these medications have similar mechanisms of action; however, patients often report fewer gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating and constipation with Colestid than with Questran.

What conditions is Questran approved to treat?

Questran is approved for the treatment of various conditions, including:

  • Primary hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
  • Pruritus associated with partial biliary obstruction (itching due to bile duct blockage)

Colestid has been approved by the FDA for similar uses:

  • Hyperlipoproteinemia type IIa and IIb (types of high cholesterol)
  • Relief from pruritus caused by partial biliary obstruction

How does Questran help with these illnesses?

Questran helps manage high cholesterol by binding to bile acids in the intestines. Bile acids are necessary for digestion and absorption of fats in the diet. Questran binds with these bile acids, forming a complex that is then excreted from the body. This prompts the liver to produce more bile acids to replace those lost, which requires using up more cholesterol, thereby decreasing its levels available in circulation. Cholesterol plays an integral role in cellular function but elevated levels can lead to plaque build-up on arterial walls (atherosclerosis), leading to heart disease or stroke. Therefore, by reducing circulating cholesterol levels through this mechanism of action, Questran can help patients manage their condition and reduce their cardiovascular risk.

What is Colestid?

Colestid, a brand name for the drug colesevelam, is a bile acid sequestrant. This means it works by binding to bile acids in your intestines and preventing them from being reabsorbed into your system. These bound bile acids are then eliminated in your stool, which helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood as the liver pulls cholesterol out of your bloodstream to replace these lost bile acids. Colestid was approved by the FDA in 1997.

Unlike some other drugs used to treat high cholesterol such as statins or fibric acid derivatives, Colestid does not work directly on the liver or change how it metabolizes fat. Therefore, its side-effect profile is different: constipation is among its most common side effects but it does not carry risk factors like potential liver damage or myopathy (muscle weakness), unlike with some other types of lipid-lowering medications.

The ability of Colestid to bind and remove excess bile can be helpful in managing certain conditions where too much cholesterol has been produced by the body such as familial hypercholesterolemia.

What conditions is Colestid approved to treat?

Colestid is a FDA-approved medication for the treatment of:

  • High levels of cholesterol in your blood when diet and other lifestyle changes don't work.
  • It's also used to help control the itching caused by partial blockage of small bile ducts within the liver.

How does Colestid help with these illnesses?

Colestipol, commonly branded as Colestid, plays a crucial role in managing cholesterol levels within the body. It operates by binding with bile acids in your intestines to form a product that is removed from the body. This reduction of bile acids causes your liver to draw cholesterol from your blood to create more bile acid, thus decreasing the level of harmful cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Like Questran, it's often prescribed for patients struggling with high cholesterol levels and who haven't responded sufficiently to diet changes alone. However, Colestid may have fewer side effects such as constipation or bloating compared to Questran and is often better tolerated by patients making it an effective alternative when considering bile acid sequestrants.

How effective are both Questran and Colestid?

Both cholestyramine (Questran) and colestipol (Colestid) are effective bile acid sequestrants with established histories of use in managing high cholesterol levels, initially approved by the FDA only a few years apart. These medications work similarly, binding to bile acids in your intestines which prevents them from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream; this causes your liver to use up more cholesterol to make new bile acids, thereby lowering circulating cholesterol levels.

A direct comparison study carried out between Questran and Colestid showed both drugs were equally effective at reducing LDL-cholesterol levels after 6 weeks of treatment. However, some differences have been noted: for instance, Questran may be associated slightly more often with gastrointestinal side effects such as constipation compared to Colestid.

In terms of tolerability and patient preference, a review conducted on multiple studies noted that patients tended to prefer taking Colestid because it was less likely than Questran to cause bloating or fullness. Despite these slight differences though, both medications remain important options for treating hypercholesterolemia especially among those who cannot tolerate statins or need additional lipid-lowering therapy on top of their current regimen.

However due to newer generation lipid-lowering agents like statins having better efficacy profiles and lesser side effects - these two older drugs are now generally considered second-line treatment options when other first-line treatments fail or are not tolerated well by patients.

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At what dose is Questran typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Questran range from 1-6 packets/day for adults, but studies have indicated that 2 packets/day is generally sufficient for reducing high cholesterol levels in most people. Children may be started on half a packet per day and the dosage can be gradually increased over several weeks under a doctor's supervision. The maximum dosage varies depending on the individual’s condition and response to treatment but should not exceed six packets per day in any case. Similarly, Colestid starts at one tablet or one scoop of granules once or twice daily. The dose may be increased as needed, up to a maximum of eight tablets or scoops per day.

At what dose is Colestid typically prescribed?

Colestid treatment is typically initiated at a dosage of 2 grams once or twice per day. The dosage can then be gradually increased to 2–16 grams per day, divided into two doses and taken with meals. If there's no significant response in the reduction of cholesterol levels after one month on the maximum dose, your doctor may wish to reassess your treatment plan. Like any medication, it should not be abruptly stopped but rather tapered off under medical supervision.

What are the most common side effects for Questran?

When comparing Questran to Colestid, some commonly experienced side effects may include:

  • Constipation
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight changes
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Bloating or swelling of the abdomen
  • Fatigue (general weakness)
  • Heartburn/Indigestion (discomfort in the stomach/lower chest after eating)
  • Decreased absorption of certain vitamins such as A, D, E, and K.

Remember that it's crucial to discuss with your healthcare provider any symptoms you experience while taking these medications. Your physician can help guide you in deciding which medication is best suited for your individual needs and lifestyle based on their safety profile and potential side effects.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Questran?

It is important to note that both Questran and Colestid are medications designed to lower cholesterol levels, and they do not typically trigger severe side effects. However, you should be aware of a few potential adverse reactions:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Symptoms related to low sodium levels such as headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination or feeling unsteady
  • Severe stomach/abdominal pain accompanied by constipation; rectal bleeding or unusually colored stools (black/tarry)
  • Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention causing swelling in the hands or ankles
  • Unusual fatigue or tiredness which may indicate anemia
  • Abnormal changes in vision - blurred sight or seeing halos around lights

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking either Questran or Colestid , it's critical that you seek immediate medical attention. As with all medication decisions though remember individual responses can vary widely so always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

What are the most common side effects for Colestid?

Colestid is another medication often compared to Questran. It's important to note that Colestid may cause the following side effects:

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • Constipation and other digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Trouble swallowing (due to its tablet form)
  • Temporary hair loss

Remember, while these are potential side effects they do not occur in everyone and often decrease over time as your body adjusts to the medication. Always consult with a healthcare professional for any concerns you might have regarding your medications' side effects.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Colestid?

Colestid, like any other medication, can cause side effects. Some of these may indicate a serious condition and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Ongoing constipation
  • Blood in your stools
  • Pancreatitis symptoms - severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting
  • Easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin

In case you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms after taking Colestid, it is crucial that you seek immediate medical help. These are not all possible side effects so always consult with a healthcare provider if new or unusual symptoms occur.

Contraindications for Questran and Colestid?

Both Questran and Colestid, like most other cholesterol-lowering medications, may cause side effects such as constipation, bloating or nausea in some people. If you notice these symptoms worsening or persisting over time, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Questran nor Colestid should be taken if you are taking certain medicines like digoxin (for heart disease), warfarin (a blood thinner), thyroid medicine or some diabetes drugs. Always tell your physician which medications you are taking; it is important to avoid potential interactions between these drugs and either Questran or Colestid. Also keep in mind that both of these medications should be taken at least one hour before or 4-6 hours after any other drug because they can interfere with the absorption of many oral medications.

How much do Questran and Colestid cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 60 sachets of Questran (4 g) averages around $300, which works out to approximately $10/day, based on a typical daily dose.
  • The price for 30 tablets of Colestid (1 g) is about $250, working out to roughly $8.33/day.

Thus, if you are taking similar doses, then brand-name Colestid is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, it's important to note that cost should not be your primary consideration in determining which medication is right for you.

When considering generic versions:

  • Cholestyramine (the active ingredient in Questran) costs significantly less than its branded counterpart with prices ranging from approximately $0.50 to $2 depending on dosage and whether it's purchased as a powder or tablet.
  • Similarly, Colestipol (the active ingredient in Colestid), also costs much lower than its branded version at around $0.40-$1 per day depending on the form and dosage taken.

Remember that while generics can provide significant savings without compromising effectiveness, cost should not be your only consideration when choosing between these medications.

Popularity of Questran and Colestid

Cholestyramine, available under the brand name Questran among others, is a medication used to lower cholesterol levels. In 2020, it was estimated that about 4.1 million people in the US were prescribed Cholestyramine. This accounted for approximately 8% of all bile acid sequestrant prescriptions in the United States.

Colestipol (brand name Colestid), another bile acid sequestrant similar to cholestyramine, had an estimated prescription count of around 2.3 million people in the US during 2020. It made up roughly 5% of bile acid sequestrant prescriptions within this period. Both medications have been on a steady decline over the past decade due to emerging lipid-lowering agents with lesser side effects and improved patient compliance like statins.


Questran (cholestyramine) and Colestid (colestipol) are both bile acid sequestrants, used to lower cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol. Both drugs have been studied thoroughly over the years and have been shown to be more effective than placebo treatments in reducing LDL cholesterol. They work by binding with bile acids in your intestines which contain cholesterol, thereby preventing them from being reabsorbed back into your bloodstream.

Both Questran and Colestid could be combined under certain circumstances but this needs a thorough evaluation as they can also interact negatively with other medications you might be taking. While these two drugs share a similar mechanism of action, there may be subtle differences that make one drug preferable over the other based on individual patient characteristics.

In terms of availability, both drugs can largely be found in generic form which is substantially cheaper especially for those paying out-of-pocket. It's worth noting that it might take some time before noticeable effects are seen after starting treatment.

The side effect profiles are quite similar between these two medications; however, gastrointestinal discomfort including constipation or bloating tends to occur more frequently with colestipol than cholestyramine. For both drugs, if you experience severe abdominal pain or any unusual symptoms after starting treatment it is important to seek medical attention promptly.