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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Questran

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An indi vidual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 08/24/1999]
Question: What information can you give me about Locholest?? Is there another drug that is comparable to this??

Answer: This is a brand name for a drug called Cholestramine. This is a binding resin that you take orally. It is very effective in lowering cholesterol and was one of the first drugs available. It is limited by gi problems, gas, diarrhea and the like plus bulky stools(I had one patient who blocked his toilet with the bulk). It is gritty to taste and consequently hard to take. It is difficult to transport on trips due to the need to mix it(usually cold fruit juice is best). But, it is best in terms of systemic side effects for which it has none. If you can tolerate the gi problems.

[posted 08/23/1999]
Question: How do I protect my heart and my liver at the same time. I have inherited a cholestrol problem, and have had Hepatitis B since birth. This becomes active from time to time, eg I get E Antigens as well as persisting with B Antigens. My LFT is high side of normal. I was on Zocor for 18 months, and when stopping the medication, my Bilirubin dropped from 17 umol/L to 6 umol/L though the rest of the test continues to rise slightly. I have been on Lipitor for just a week and already my skin is very dry especially my hands, and my breasts hurt. My insomnia is much worse, only managing to get 2 hours a night for the last five days. While on Zocor my arms and leg muscles started to ache, though this has not yet happened with Lipitor. Should I continue taking cholestrol lowering drugs. Would taking half an asprin plus a small glass of red wine help my cholestrol?

Answer: I'd use one of the cholesterol drugs that doesn't affect your liver. Currently, this would be a high fiber diet and the binding resins like Questran. Since they do not get absorbed, there is no risk of systemic toxicity.

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