Watery stools or diarrhea is a clinical condition wherein your bowel movements are more frequent. It is often characterized by a watery discharge of stools. Such a condition may need clinical treatment on an urgent mode. If left untreated, it may lead to dehydration due to an acute loss of fluids. Severe outcomes of diarrhea can include erratic heartbeats, discoloration of skin, and a reduction in the discharge of urine as well as possible loss of coordination. Can you use cholestyramine to treat watery stools or diarrhea? It is critical to know more on this.

If bowel movements occur for more than 3 times within a 24-hour timeline, it is categorized as diarrhea. When such spells last for more than 2 weeks, it is labelled as an acute form of this condition. On the other hand, traces of blood in watery stools are termed as dysentery. When needful water is not absorbed in your large intestine, it can result in loose movements of the bowel. Infants and children may get this when they are infected by rotavirus; this is often an outcome of a condition called gastroenteritis. Severe episodes of watery stools may occur due to conditions such as colitis, irritable bowel and poor absorption of bile acids.

Of these various types of causes, malabsorption of bile acid can occur when your body produces additional quantity of gastric acids. Your liver makes these acids; which play a key role in digesting lipids or fats. Only a smaller quantity of these acids enters into your intestinal tract; especially, in your large intestine. But, when sizable amount of acids get into the intestine, it causes watery stools or a persistent episode of diarrhea.

Use for cholestyramine for treating diarrhea

Drugs belonging to a class of meds called as bile acid sequestrants are administered to treat poor absorption of acids. The acids made in your gall help digest as well as absorb vitamins and fats. Excessive acids are recycled to the liver where it is soon reabsorbed. Thus, a smaller quantity reaches the colon after crossing your intestine. Among those with a poor absorption rate of bile acids, the acids may reach your large intestines as well as colon. Due to this action, your colon area experiences additional motility; this in turn leads to watery or loose stools.

Cholestyramine is a bile acid sequestrant. Among its many uses, it is administered to treat diarrhea caused by biliary obstruction. This condition can occur when you have gallstones present in your bladder, inflammation of liver and acute liver conditions such as cirrhosis or hepatitis. The active ingredients of this drug make the acids to become inactive – i.e., osmotically. Doses taken are strictly as per instructions of your treating doctor. Standard dose is in between 4 grams to 7 grams; uppermost limit is often maintained at 22 grams per day.

Safety precautions to be followed prior to taking this drug

Your treating doctor will provide you with needful instructions prior to starting your medication plan. It is of great importance to follow all the instructions carefully. Tell your physician if you have clinical conditions such as an internal obstruction in your gastric tract, you have problems in discharging stools – i.e., difficulties such as constipation, hepatic conditions or internal blocks in your blood vessels. The drug may make it difficult for your system to absorb vitamins. For women who are pregnant or those who are nursing an infant, intake of additional supplements is a big necessity. So, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, tell your doctor about your medical condition prior to taking cholestyramine. It is likely that your doctor may prescribe a few supplements of vitamins while you are taking cholestyramine (and if you are pregnant / nursing your infant).

How long does it take for cholestyramine to treat diarrhea?

No two people respond to the doses in the same manner. This drug is available as a pill or in a powdered form. The powder is more popular way to take, as it is easy to swallow along with a glass of water. It may however take a few days for the condition to improve. Never stop the medication without consulting your doctor. A few people may increase the dosages – i.e., take larger doses, without telling their caregivers; this can only aggravate your medical condition. Any increase in dosage values is done strictly under the supervision of your doctor; your caregiver may also enhance the dosage values in a very slow or gradual manner.

Intake of needful quantity of water is highly essential – especially, if you are taking other drugs. Also, this drug may work adversely when it is co-administered with a few other meds. It is hence a safe practice to tell your treating physician about all the other drugs you are currently taking. Apart from drugs, your medical team also needs to be aware of treatment plans that you are currently pursuing. During the course of your medication plan, you may develop a few discomforts. These can include gastric problems such as difficulties to discharge stools, traces of blood in your stool as well as development of internal blockages. These problems are likely to be severe when you have a section of your bowel removed or if you are living with conditions such as Crohn’s disorder / disease.

Last but not least, you are advised to adhere to the dosage instructions without fail. In order to avoid an overdosed situation, your daily dose is divided into multiple smaller / tiny doses. In some rare instances, the daily dose has been subdivided into seven or eight smaller doses. If you develop any of the above side effects or undesired reactions, call 911 immediately. You may also reach out to the helplines of the food and drug administration (FDA). Those living in Canada can either reach a local poison control center or establish contact with Health Canada on an emergency basis.

In sum, cholestyramine is one of the widely used bile acid sequestrants. It is used for the treatment of diarrhea triggered by poor absorption of biliary acids. The medication plan is strictly as per instructions of your treating doctor. You may be asked to take doses ranging from 4 to 7 grams. It may take a few days for diarrhea to be treated. Always talk to your doctor prior to making any changes to your daily dosages of cholestyramine.

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