Gemfibrozil is used along with a proper diet to help lower fats (triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It may also help to lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL). Gemfibrozil belongs to a group of drugs known as "fibrates." It works by decreasing the amount of fat produced by the liver. Lowering triglycerides in people with very high triglyceride blood levels may also decrease the risk of pancreas disease (pancreatitis). However, gemfibrozil might not lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about the risk and benefits of gemfibrozil.
In addition to eating a proper diet (such as a low-cholesterol/low-fat diet), other lifestyle changes that may help this medication work better include exercising, drinking less alcohol, losing weight if overweight, and stopping smoking.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually twice a day (30 minutes before your morning and evening meals).
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
If you also take certain other drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take gemfibrozil at least 1 hour before or at least 4-6 hours after taking these medications. These products can react with gemfibrozil, preventing its full absorption.
Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to take it at the same times each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high cholesterol/triglycerides do not feel sick.
It is very important to continue to follow your doctor's advice about diet and exercise. It may take up to 3 months before you get the full benefit of this drug.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may infrequently cause gallstones and liver problems. If you notice any of the following unlikely but serious side effects, tell your doctor immediately: severe stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea/vomiting, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine.
This drug may infrequently cause muscle problems (which can rarely lead to a very serious condition called rhabdomyolysis). Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms: muscle pain/tenderness/weakness (especially with fever or unusual tiredness), change in the amount of urine.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat), easy bruising/bleeding, unusual tiredness, irregular heartbeat, numbness/tingling of arms/legs.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking gemfibrozil, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other "fibrates" (such as fenofibrate); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: "blood thinners" (such as warfarin), colchicine, repaglinide, "statin" drugs (such as atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin).
This medication can slow down the removal of other medications from your body, which may affect how they work. Examples of affected drugs include pioglitazone, rosiglitazone, among others.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as cholesterol/triglyceride levels, kidney/liver function tests, complete blood count) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised May 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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