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Frequently Asked Questions
You should not take gemfibrozil if you have severe liver or kidney disease, gallbladder disease, or if you are also taking repaglinide (Prandin), dasabuvir (Viekira Pak), or simvastatin (Zocor, Vytorin, Juvisync, Simcor).
Gemfibrozil helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides (fatty acids) in the blood. High levels of these types of fat in the blood are associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries).
Gemfibrozil is used together with diet to treat very high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with pancreatitis.
Gemfibrozil is also used to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart complications in certain people with high cholesterol and triglycerides who have not been helped by other treatment methods.
Gemfibrozil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use gemfibrozil if you are allergic to it, if you have:
- severe liver disease;
- severe kidney disease;
- gallbladder disease; or
- if you are also taking repaglinide (Prandin), dasabuvir (Viekira Pak), or simvastatin (Zocor, Vytorin, Juvisync, Simcor).
To make sure gemfibrozil is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- gallstones; or
- if you also take warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).
It is not known whether gemfibrozil will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether gemfibrozil passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while taking gemfibrozil.
Gemfibrozil is usually taken twice daily, 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner.
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Gemfibrozil is only part of a treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.
While using gemfibrozil, you may need frequent blood tests to check your liver function. Your kidney function may also need to be tested.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Gemfibrozil will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may interfere with your treatment.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, gemfibrozil can cause a condition that results in the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to kidney failure. Call your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness especially if you also have fever, unusual tiredness, and dark colored urine.
Also call your doctor at once if you have:
- sharp pain in your upper stomach (especially after eating);
- jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes);
- pain or burning when you urinate;
- blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights; or
- pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin.
Common side effects may include:
- stomach pain, indigestion, diarrhea;
- numbness or tingly feeling;
- dizziness, drowsiness;
- blurred vision;
- muscle or joint pain; or
- loss of interest in sex, impotence.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use. Certain other drugs can increase your risk of serious muscle problems, and it is very important that your doctor knows if you are using any of them:
- colchicine; or
- a "statin" cholesterol-lowering medicine--atorvastatin (Lipitor, Caduet), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev, Advicor), pitavastatin (Livalo), (pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), or simvastatin (Zocor, Simcor, Vytorin).
Many drugs can interact with gemfibrozil, and some drugs should not be used together. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with gemfibrozil. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.
Your pharmacist can provide more information about gemfibrozil.
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