Questran Lite Powder (cholestyramine
) is a bile acid sequestrant used in a variety of applications in which the inhibition of bile absorption in the intestine is desirable. The most common conditions it is used in include:
- Lowering LDL cholesterol levels
- Reducing severs itching associated with liver failure
- Reducing diarrhea associated with certain conditions or surgeries
- Hastening the elimination of certain other medications
Unlike the original Questran, Questran Lite Powder contains the artificial sweetener aspartame rather than sugar. Aspartame contains phenylalanine, so clients with phenylketonuria should avoid Questran Lite Powder; regular Questran does not contain phenylalanine. Using Questran Lite Powder Effectively
This product comes in single-dose packets or in a cannister with a measured scoop representing a single dose. Each dose contains 2 grams of medication. Most patients are prescribed 2 to 4 doses, or 4 to 8 grams, of medication daily. Rarely the dose may be as high as 24 grams.
The overall daily dosage is usually split into 2 equal doses to be taken morning and evening, though smaller doses may be taken just once a day and larger doses may taken up to 6 times a day.
To take Questran Lite Powder, simply mix the powder into a non-carbonated beverage, or alternatively a food with high liquid content such as soup. It may be taken with or without a full meal, and fluids may be warm or cold. Mixture should be consumed immediately and completely.
There are a few things to keep in mind while using this medication to minimize side effects and maximize effectiveness:
- Each single dose should be mixed with a minimum of 2 to 6 ounces of fluid; if taking 2 doses, mix with 4 to 12 ounces of fluid, 3 doses, 6 to 18 ounces of fluid, and so on.
- Do not hold the mixture in your mouth, as doing so may cause tooth discoloration. Likewise, always brush teeth after taking a dose.
- Do not consume dry powder or take more than prescribed; doing so may cause severe constipation.
- This treatment may prevent certain nutrients and other medications from being absorbed properly; taking supplements and other medications several hours before or after Questran Lite Powder will prevent absorption issues.
- Drink extra fluids while using this product to prevent constipation.
Most patients taking Questran Lite Powder longer than a week or two are advised to supplement a daily multivitamin, as this medication may result in chronic vitamin A, D, E and K deficiency. Potential Side Effects & Complications
Patients at risk of, or with a history of, intestinal blockages, diabetes, thyroid disorders, kidney or liver disease, gallstones, chronic vitamin deficiency or chronic constipation should discuss risks with a doctor before using this medication.
The most common side effect with this treatment is constipation. As mentioned above, increasing fluid intake is the best way to prevent this from happening.
Other than constipation, side effects are quite rare and most are harmless, including mild constipation or diarrhea, mild stomach upset, bloating, and itching around the anus. Very rarely more serious reactions occur, which call for emergency medical attention:
- Blood in urine or stools
- Severe constipation
- Severe stomach pain
- Difficulty breathing
The effect of this medication on unborn or nursing babies is unknown, however, because it may interfere with vitamin absorption, it should be used only when absolutely necessary and with close doctor supervision.
Regular doctor check-ups are advisable for all patients while using this medication, to both ensure it is working as intended and to monitor any possible subtle side effects, such as vitamin deficiency.