Bile Acid Resins

Your Care Explained > Medications : Bile Acid Resins

Although bile acid resins can reduce LDL cholesterol levels substantially, they have gastrointestinal side effects that some women find difficult to tolerate.

How Bile Acid Resins Work

These medications bind with cholesterol-containing bile acids in the intestines and carry them out of the body in the stool. On average, bile acid sequestrants alone lower LDL cholesterol by about 10 to 20%; in combination with statins, they can reduce LDL levels by 40% or more.

Taking Bile Acid Resins

The medications are available either as powders or tablets. Either form must be taken with large amounts of fluid. The powders are mixed with juice or water and taken twice daily with meals; the tablets are swallowed with an eight-ounce beverage at mealtime twice a day.

Side Effects

Bile acid resins may cause gas, bloating, constipation and nausea. They can also interfere with the absorption of other medicines taken at the same time. If your doctor recommends a bile acid resin, be sure to discuss the best time to take it, especially if you take other medications.

Date Last Modified: January 21, 2011

Send Feedback To: BWH Women’s Health at

75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115 617.732.5500
harvard medical school partners healthcare © BWH 2011