Gemfibrozil: Uses, Warnings, Side Effects and Interactions

It is used to reduce triglycerides (a type of fat in the bloodstream). Having very high levels of triglycerides increases the risk of pancreatitis.

It belongs to a class of medications called fibric acid derivatives. It works by changing the amount of cholesterol and other fats (lipids) in your body.

Gemfibrozil reduces triglyceride levels and increases HDL cholesterol levels (HDL is considered a good type of cholesterol).

Gemfibrozil in an oral tablet is available as a brand-name drug and a generic drug. This drug only comes in the form of a tablet that is taken orally.

Warnings

Gallstones warning:

Gemfibrozil can cause you to develop gallstones. If you develop them, you should stop using this medication.

Combination with Statins:

Gemfibrozil should not be taken with Simvastatin, another medication for cholesterol. The use of Gemfibrozil with Simvastatin or other drugs in the class of statins can cause severe muscle toxicity.

This condition can cause kidney failure or death.

Side effects

Gemfibrozil does not cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

Most common side effects:

  • Stomach ache.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation .
  • Eruption.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Changes in the sense of taste.
  • Muscle pain.

Note: If these effects are slight, they may disappear in a few days or a couple of weeks. But, if they are more serious or do not go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects:

Serious side effects and their symptoms may include the following:

Gallstones:

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the upper right part of your abdomen (stomach area).
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting
Rhabdomyolysis (muscle toxicity):

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain, sensitivity or weakness in the muscles.
  • Dark colored urine.

Interactions with other medications

The oral tablet of Gemfibrozil may interact with other medications, vitamins or herbs that you may be taking.

Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications, vitamins or herbs you are taking.

To find out how this medication might interact with something else you are swallowing, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with Gemfibrozil are listed below:

Medicine for allergies and asthma:

Montelukast is used to treat allergies and asthma . Taking Gemfibrozil with it may increase your risk of side effects. Your doctor may reduce the dose of this medication if you need to take it with Gemfibrozil.

Anticoagulant medications:

The Warfarin is used to dilute the blood. When used with Gemfibrozil, the effects of Warfarin may increase. This increases your risk of bleeding.

Your doctor may reduce the dose of Warfarin and control it more often when you start with Gemfibrozil.

Drugs against cancer:

Taking certain anti-cancer drugs with Gemfibrozil may increase the effects of these anti-cancer drugs. Your doctor may lower the dose of these medications if you need to take them with Gemfibrozil.

  • Dabrafenib.
  • Enzalutamida.
  • Paclitaxel.

Drugs against diarrhea:

Loperamide is used to treat diarrhea. When used with Gemfibrozil, the effects of Loperamide may increase. Your doctor may lower your dose of Loperamide if you need to take it with Gemfibrozil.

Drugs for cholesterol:

Certain medications that also lower cholesterol increase certain risks if taken with Gemfibrozil.

Do not use these drugs with Gemfibrozil. Increase your risk of muscle toxicity or kidney failure. This may occur after three weeks of combination therapy, or it may occur after several months.

Examples of these medications include:

  • Atorvastatin.
  • Fluvastatina.
  • Lovastatin.
  • Pitavastatina.
  • Pravastatina
  • Rosuvastatin.
  • Simvastatin.

In addition, certain medications for cholesterol may decrease the effects of Gemfibrozil. To prevent this, you should take the medication 2 hours or more after taking Gemfibrozil.

Examples of these drugs include:

  • Cholestyramine.
  • Colesevelam.
  • Colestipol.

Medications for diabetes:

The use of Gemfibrozil with certain medications for diabetes can increase the effects of these medications. This increases the risk of severe blood sugar levels.

Do not use these drugs with Gemfibrozil.

Examples of these medications include:

  • Repaglinide.
  • Gliburida.
  • Glimepirida.
  • Glipizide.
  • Nateglinida.

Other medications for diabetes may require a dose reduction when administered with Gemfibrozil. These include:

  • Pioglitazone.
  • Rosiglitazone.

Drop drug:

Colchicine is used to treat gout. The use of Gemfibrozil with this medication increases the risk of severe muscle toxicity.

This condition can cause kidney failure or death. You may be at higher risk if you are older (65 years or older) or have kidney problems.

Medications for hepatitis C:

Dasabuvir is used to treat hepatitis C. Do not use this medication with Gemfibrozil.

Muscle relaxants:

Tizanidine is used to relax certain muscles in the body. Do not use this medication with Gemfibrozil.