Gemfibrozil (jem-FI-broe-zil) is prescribed, along with a special diet, for treatment of people with very high levels of serum triglycerides who are at risk of developing pancreatitis and who do not respond adequately to a strict diet. This drug can also be used to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in people who have failed to respond to weight loss, diet, exercise, and other triglyceride- or cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Gemfibrozil comes as a tablet to take by mouth. Take this medication 30 minutes before the morning and evening meal.
Take Gemfibrozil at around the same times every day. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Gemfibrozil controls high cholesterol and triglycerides but does not cure them. Continue to take Gemfibrozil even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Gemfibrozil without talking to your doctor.
Side effects may include: Abdominal pain, acute appendicitis, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, fatigue, headache, indigestion, nausea/vomiting, rash, vertigo.
Symptoms of overdose may include: Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting. If you suspect an overdose of Gemfibrozil, seek medical attention immediately.
Before taking Gemfibrozil,
Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Gemfibrozil or any other medications.
Tell your doctor if you have kidney, liver, or gallbladder disease. Your doctor may tell you not to take Gemfibrozil.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking Gemfibrozil, call your doctor.
If you are being treated for any disease that contributes to increased blood cholesterol, such as an overactive thyroid, diabetes, nephrotic syndrome (kidney and blood vessel disorder), dysproteinemia (excess of protein in the blood), or obstructive liver disease, consult with your doctor before taking Gemfibrozil.
There is a slight possibility that Gemfibrozil may cause malignancy, gallbladder disease, abdominal pain leading to appendectomy, or other serious, possibly fatal, abdominal disorders. This drug should not be used by those who have only mildly elevated cholesterol levels, since the benefits do not outweigh the risk of these severe side effects.
Unless you are directed to do so by your doctor, do not take this medication if you are being treated for severe kidney or liver disorders or gallbladder disease.
Liver disorders have occurred with the use of this drug. Therefore, your doctor will probably test your liver function periodically.
The use of this drug may be associated with myositis, a muscle disease. If you have muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, consult with your doctor. If myositis is suspected, your doctor will stop treating you with this drug.
The effects of Gemfibrozil during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. If Gemfibrozil is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with Gemfibrozil is finished.
Tell your doctor if you are taking cerivastatin (Baycol). Your doctor will tell you not to take Gemfibrozil while taking Cerivastatin.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), and simvastatin (Zocor); and repaglinide (Prandin).Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
Do not combine Gemfibrozil with any of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as "statins," including atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, and simvastatin. This combination increases the danger of serious, muscle-wasting side effects.
You should not start taking Gemfibrozil if you are already taking the diabetes medication repaglinide. Conversely, you should not start taking repaglinide if you are already using Gemfibrozil. Combining the two drugs could lead to a dangerous drop in blood sugar. However, if you're already taking both drugs, the doctor will monitor your blood sugar levels closely and adjust the dosages as needed.
If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Gemfibrozil or similar drugs such as clofibrate, you should not take this medication. Make sure your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you have experienced.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.
Store Gemfibrozil at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Gemfibrozil out of the reach of children and away from pets.