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Pronounced: LOH-pid
Generic name: Gemfibrozil

Why is this drug prescribed: Lopid is prescribed, along with a special diet, for treatment of people with very high levels of serum triglycerides (a fatty substance in the blood) who are at risk of developing pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) 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.

Most important fact about this drug: Lopid is usually prescribed only if diet, exercise, and weight-loss fail to bring your cholesterol levels under control. It's important to remember that Lopid is a supplement--not a substitute--for these other measures. To get the full benefit of the medication, you need to stick to the diet and exercise program prescribed by your doctor. All these efforts to keep your cholesterol levels normal are important because together they may lower your risk of heart disease.

How should you take this medication: Take this medication 30 minutes before the morning and evening meal, exactly as prescribed. --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. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Lopid. More common side effects may include: Abdominal pain, acute appendicitis, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, fatigue, headache, indigestion, nausea/vomiting, rash, vertigo Less common or rare side effects may include: Anemia, blood disorders, blurred vision, confusion, convulsions, decreased male fertility, decreased sex drive, depression, dizziness, fainting, hives, impotence, inflammation of the colon, irregular heartbeat, itching, joint pain, laryngeal swelling, muscle disease, muscle pain, muscle weakness, painful extremities, sleepiness, tingling sensation, weight loss, yellow eyes and skin

Why should this drug not be prescribed: There is a slight possibility that Lopid 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. If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Lopid or similar drugs such as Atromid-S, you should not take this medication. Make sure your doctor is aware of any drug reactions you have experienced. 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. Do not combine Lopid with any of the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as "statins," including Lescol, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol, and Zocor. This combination increases the danger of serious, muscle-wasting side effects.

Special warnings about this medication: Excess body weight and excess alcohol intake may be important risk factors leading to unusually high levels of fats in the body. Your doctor will probably want you to lose weight and stop drinking before he or she tries to treat you with Lopid. Your doctor will probably do periodic blood level tests during the first 12 months of therapy with Lopid because of blood diseases associated with the use of this medication. Liver disorders have occurred with the use of this drug. Therefore, your doctor will probably test your liver function periodically. 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 Lopid. Lopid should begin to reduce cholesterol levels during the first 3 months of therapy. If your cholesterol is not lowered sufficiently, this medication should be discontinued. Therefore, it is important that your doctor check your progress regularly. The use of this medication may cause gallstones leading to possible gallbladder surgery. If you develop gallstones, your doctor will tell you to stop taking the drug. 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.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: To avoid the possibility of severe muscle-wasting side effects, do not use any of the cholesterol-lowering "statin" drugs while taking Lopid. Drugs in this category include: Atorvastatin (Lipitor) Fluvastatin (Lescol) Lovastatin (Mevacor) Pravastatin (Pravachol) Simvastatin (Zocor) Also be sure to check with your doctor before taking Lopid along with a blood-thinning drug such as Coumadin. The dosage of the blood-thinner must be reduced to avoid abnormal bleeding.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of Lopid during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. This medication causes tumors in animals, and it could have an effect on nursing infants. If Lopid is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to discontinue breastfeeding until your treatment with Lopid is finished.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: The recommended dose is 1,200 milligrams divided into 2 doses, given 30 minutes before the morning and evening meals. CHILDREN: Safety and effectiveness of Lopid have not been established for use in children. OLDER ADULTS: This drug should be used with caution by older adults.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical help immediately. Symptoms of Lopid overdose may include: Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting

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