The bile acid sequestrant drugs are among the earliest class of medications used to lower cholesterol. They are seldom prescribed today because of their many side effects.
Medications in the bile acid sequestrant family include cholestyramine resin (Locholest, Prevalite, Questran, Questran Light) and colestipol hydrochloride (Colestid) among others.
Bile acid sequestrants have been reported to impair the absorption of numerous nutrients, including calcium, folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin E.1,2 It appears, however, that only folate supplementation may be needed by individuals on long-term therapy with bile acid sequestrants. Although the bile acid sequestrant used in the studies interfered with the absorption of the other nutrients, their levels remained in the normal range. Just to be safe, though, making sure to get enough vitamin E and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) would make sense.
1. Hoppner K and Lampi B. Bioavailability of folate following ingestion of cholestyramine in the rat. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 61: 130–134, 1991.
2. West RJ and Lloyd JK. The effect of cholestyramine on intestinal absorption. Gut 16: 93–98, 1975.
Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 12/15/2015