Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Bezafibrate

Bezafibrate is prescribed for the treatment of high blood cholesterol when dietary measures have proven ineffective.

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Bezafibrate is the active ingredient of Bezalip, Bezalip Retard and Rolab-Bezafibrate.

General information

Bezafibrate is prescribed for the treatment of high blood cholesterol when dietary measures have proven ineffective. The medication lowers lipid (fat) levels in the blood and is particularly effective when the levels of HDL-cholesterol - often termed "good" cholesterol because it tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body - is low, and triglycerides - a type of fat that is normally present in the blood, and of which high levels are linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis - are raised.

When bezafibrate is taken, blood cholesterol is reduced by as much as 15-20 percent, and the risk of coronary heart disease (angina and/or heart attacks) is reduced significantly.

How does bezafibrate work?

Bezafibrate appears to interfere with the conversion of fatty acids to different types of fat in the liver.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Tablets and modified-release tablets

What does it do? Lowers high blood cholesterol

Overdose risk: Low

Dependency risk: Low

Available as a generic? Yes

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: It may take several weeks to show a noticeable effect

Duration of action: Up to 24 hours

Dietary advice: A low-fat diet need to be followed for bezafibrate to give optimal results. The tablets should be taken with meals.

Stopping: Use as directed by your doctor. Do not stop treatment without speaking to your prescriber

Prolonged use: No problem expected. However, if you have kidney or liver disease, you should be closely monitored if using for prolonged periods.

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have severe kidney or liver disease,
  • You have an overactive thyroid gland,
  • You have gallstones or gall bladder disorders,
  • You have a stomach ulcer,
  • You have heart disease, or
  • You are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children. It has been used under medical supervision in children over the age of 4 without significant adverse effects.

Elderly: No special precautions need be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need be taken.

Alcohol: No special precautions need be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Nausea

x

Loss of appetite

x

Stomach pain

x

Diarrhoea

x

Bloatedness

x

Headache

x

x

Rash, Itchy skin

x

x

Sweating

x

x

Arrhythmias

x

x

Muscle cramps

x

x

Insomnia

x

x

Impotence

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

Warfarin

Possible increased warfarin toxicity

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

Possible liver damage

Antidiabetic drugs

Possible increased blood sugar lowering effect

Statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs

Possible muscle damage

Orlistat

Manufacturer advises against concomitant use

Cholestyramine

Should be taken at least 2 hours apart from bezafibrate

Phenytoin

Possible increased phenytoin toxicity

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have severe kidney or liver disease, an overactive thyroid gland, gallstones or a gall bladder disorder, a stomach ulcer, or if you have heart disease.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adult dose: Initially 200mg once a day, increasing to 200mg 2-3 times a day after meals.

Modified release tablet: 400mg once a day with supper. The tablet must be swallowed whole.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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