Cholestyramine (Questran)

What is it?

Questran is a bile acid sequestrant, i.e. it 'mops up' excess bile salts.

What is it used for?

It is used principally to control diarrhoea caused by excessive amounts of bile salts spilling over into the large bowel and irritating its lining.

This can occur if the terminal ileum, where these salts are normally absorbed has to be removed due to Crohn’s disease which is not responding to medical treatment.

How is it taken?

It is a powder which is dissolved in water and taken as a drink.

Are there any special precautions?

Supplements of the vitamins A, D, E and K may need to be taken if Questran has been used for a long time in high doses (i.e. 3 or more sachets daily).

If you take any of the following drugs:

• Digoxin
• Antibiotics
• Diuretics (water tablets)
• Warfarin
• Thyroxine

They should be taken either 1 hour before or 4 - 6 hours after taking Questran.

Use in pregnancy

It may be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding if the doctor considers that the benefits outweigh any potential harm that may be caused.

Are there any adverse reactions?

If Questran has been taken for a long period of time, it can lead to delayed clotting of the blood due to a lack of Vitamin K.

It can also cause constipation, but this usually resolves on continued usage.