A class of lipid-lowering medicines that helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels. Also called bile acid resins, these drugs lower cholesterol levels by binding with cholesterol-containing bile acids in the intestines. Once bound to these medicines, the bile acids are eliminated in the stool.
Bile acid sequestrants are sometimes combined with other lipid-lowering drugs called statins to produce a combined effect on lowering LDL cholesterol. Bile acid sequestrants, which include the medicines cholestyramine (brand names Locholest, Prevalite), colestipol (Colestid), and colesevelam (Welchol), can have bothersome gastrointestinal side effects, including bloating, constipation, and gas.