IBS Tales Home > Treatment Reviews > IBS Medications > Colestid


Rated 4.3/5 based on 20 reviews

Colestid (colestipol hydrochloride) is a medicine which absorbs bile acids from the intestines. In most people bile acids are absorbed after digestion, but if you have had your gallbladder removed you may produce too much bile and need extra help from medications. Too much bile acid can result in diarrhea, so Colestid is generally used to control IBS-diarrhea, specifically after a surgery to remove the gallbladder.

Colestid is available in a powder form, which is mixed with water before swallowing, and also in tablet form. It is very important to follow all directions from your doctor when taking Colestid, as it can prevent the absorption of vitamins if taken long-term, which could have serious health effects if not taken into consideration.

As with all drugs, please do not rely on the information on this page or any other website for medical advice - always consult a doctor with any questions, and make sure you read all instructions carefully.

Colestid side effects

The most common side effects of Colestid are constipation, stomach pain, gas, nausea and vomiting.


Review by Brooke May

I have been taking colestipol 1g tablets micronized for 14 years, ever since my gallbladder was removed. I started with two a day, once in the morning and once at night, but after a year I was able to just take one in the morning about 30 minutes before eating. It works perfectly! If I miss a day I get diarrhea immediately after eating, then I have to take the pill and wait three hours to eat.

However, I am 51 now and my doctor detected severe vitamin deficiencies this year in my blood work. Vitamins B12 and D were dangerously low, as well as calcium. I had been feeling tired with no energy and having problems with memory at work. He has me taking B12 sublingual 3000mg twice a day and 2000IU vitamin D as well and I feel like a new person.

I am having trouble taking calcium though because it make me painfully consipated. I need to find a way to get calcium in me so if there is not a lower dose maybe I will try every other day with a calcium pill.

Review by Jim

I have had IBS for 30 years. I took Librax to control symptoms and it always worked, one at meals and one at bedtime. In about a six-month period the 90-day supply went from $55 to $1100. I am retired and can no longer afford it.

My doctor tried a couple of other drugs that didn't work. Then I started taking colestipol and it immediately stopped the diarrhea, like magic. I take a 1g tablet at meals. Just make sure you take other meds one hour before taking colestipol, otherwise the other meds won't work. I strongly recommend everyone try colestipol.

Review by Judy

I just wanted David to know (see review below) that I just started on Colestipol and I got 1gm tablets so they are available. I am so excited to hear of the positive results other people have had with Colestid. My story matches all the horror experiences of IBS.

Review by Leslie

I had my gallbladder out four years ago and I was never the same afterwards. I was only 35 at the time and I couldn't go out and enjoy anything. As soon as I ate there'd be an embarrassing time in the bathroom. Vacations were ruined. I went to several doctors who said eat better, reduce stress, etc. I finally found one who said 'I know exactly what's going on'! He prescribed Colestid.

This was three weeks ago. The first night was terrible but I read here that the symptoms pass. They did in a few days. Now, the anxiety of eating and being away from a bathroom is fading. I feel hopeful. I did notice that I bruise more easily so I started with a vitamin D, calcium and vitamin K supplement. If you read up, the side effects of Colestid include reducing the absorption of vitamins. Thank you for this website, it really helped me.

Review by Debbie

I have had IBS since my 20s. I didn't want to go anywhere. Everytime I ate I would be running to the bathroom. I went to the doctor two weeks ago and was given Colestipol 1mg. It has saved my life. I'm living now.

Review by Richard

I had my gallbladder removed in 1984. Five years later I was diagnosed by a 'gas man' with IBS. During those five years I suffered, not knowing what was going on. Food and nervous situations made things worse. I was even taken by ambulance from an airport to the hospital. Many times I thought I must be dying of something.

The attacks were horrible and humiliating, including one time during my honeymoon in Italy. In Florence we went to see the 'David' sculpture. Fortunately there was a washroom just off to the right of the work of art. No toilet, just a hole in floor. I was told I had everything from joggers' diarrhea to...well, there were many reasons given but nothing made sense. I've always been healthy so talking to various doctors about the symptoms was not easy.

I was not even halfway through my story to the gastro doc and he said 'I know what's wrong with you'. He did, and it gave me my life back. I now take 10 1gm Colestid tabs per day. If I take nine I'm in trouble. I gave up drinking 20 years ago but basically I can eat whatever I want. I often think of that doctor and how his knowledge and training returned me to a relatively normal existence.

If they ever stop making Colestid to soak up my bile salts I'm not sure what I'd do. Until I happened across this site I always wondered just how many people had the same problem. Comforting to know I'm not alone.

Review by Mickey

I am a male, 56 years old, and I have suffered with IBS for most of my life. About 10 years ago my doctor suggested trying Colestid and it has worked wonders for me. I take one tablet a day and one Imodium and I am able to eat anything. I still try to stay away from some foods that seem to trigger IBS attacks, but overall I am free from the horrible symptoms of IBS. I think I had tried every herb and diet and was completely frustrated until I came across this drug. I am not sure of the long-term effects, but I am happy to be free from IBS-D.

Review by Jill

I suffered from IBS for years. I was diagnosed by a doctor. I tried taking Imodium but I always had constipation for days afterwards. My doctor put me on Colestid powder. I take one scoop a day (5mg). I also take Culturelle, a probiotic, which helps with the bad bacteria. I order this online as it is much cheaper than in the stores.

I tried not taking the Colestid powder and regretted that decision! I had a terrible attack of diarrhea. So I will need to take Colestid for life. I also try to avoid fatty foods etc and eat small portions. My stomach feels so much better than when I eat huge portions. If I go out to eat I doggie bag half the meal and heat it up for the next day. Do not let your friends or family goad you into eating too much. You will suffer, they won't! Tell them you love their food but cannot eat too much at one time. Good luck to everyone.

Review by Tracy

After suffering from IBS for about 10 years I had given up on any medication that would make me feel better again. Unlike some sufferers I still have my gallbladder, I guess it just doesn't work like it should. My sister was watching Discovery Health on TV and there was a lady with my exact symptoms. She phoned me up right away to tell me about Colestid. I was hesitant to try, I thought it probably wouldn't work just like the rest.

I told my doctor about it and he said let's give it a shot. Every night I thank God for my sister seeing that show. The very first day I took Colestid I was better. No more diarrhea! I can eat anything now. I no longer fear not making it to the bathroom in time. I can go out for dinner or to a friend's house and not be embarrassed. Colestid truly gave me my life back. I have been taking one pill a day for a year now and I feel great!

Review by Sarah

I was always a very underweight person growing up. About four years after the birth of my first child I began experiencing sharp pain in my mid-section and frequent, urgent trips to the restroom. Needless to say, I was extremely alarmed.

After the removal of my gallbladder, which was diseased, my symptoms got worse. I eventually saw a gastroenterologist who did the whole colonoscopy thing, decided I did not suffer from Crohn's Disease and diagnosed it as IBS. He told me he wanted to try me on Colestid. We started on a high dose of two tablets, twice a day. That was too much and constipated me....at least I wasn't running for a bathroom! We found that two tablets before bed work best for me. Prior to going on Colestid, I was living on anti-diarrheal medication....several tablets a day and even that wasn't holding the sudden onset of symptoms.

I have not tried the powder form mainly because I was afraid it wouldn't work. I have been on Colestid for almost eight years and I swear by it. I am only 35 and I have osteoporosis and osteo-arthritis, but I also had a family history and pre-existing spinal condition. There could be some chance that the Colestid contributed to the early onset of my osteoporosis....but at least I'm not running for the toilet!

I am so glad to have the opportunity to read your testimonies and know that there are people out there who have been through the same thing and I'm not alone! It's embarrassing....and I agree that most employers do not understand when we have flare-ups! I also find that certain fatty or foods such as garlic and onions and extra dairy cause me more problems.

Review by Nick

I've been dealing with IBS-D for about 10 years now, mostly since my gallbladder was removed. I've been to quite a few doctors and at least five specialists, and nothing would help me. My sister came across an article in the newspaper about severe diarrhea after having your gallbladder removed. The article mentioned Colestid. She told me about it and said I should ask my doctor about it. I recently had to get a new doctor since I moved to a new state. I wasn't sure how she would react. When I told her my story and my problems with IBS, and about my sister mentioning the newspaper article, to my surprise the only thing my doctor said was: 'Would you like to try it and see if it helps?' Of course I responded 'Absolutely'.

It's been about five months now, and overall I can't believe the difference in my life. I no longer have to worry about going out for fear of not being able to make it to a bathroom in time. While it's not a perfect solution, it's wonderful. I do have one small side effect. I get constipation once in a while; nothing severe though. I can either choose to take Colestid and get constipated occasionally or have severe diarrhea/cramping/gas/vomiting, etc a few times a week.

Review by Stephanie

I had my gallbladder removed about eight years ago. Immediately after the surgery I was unable to eat any kind of fruit or fruit juice without having diarrhea within a very short period of time. Over the years more foods have been added to the list and now I am down to eating plain toast, if I want to leave the house.

Every medication prescribed by my internal medicine doctor and my gastroenterologist have caused the diarrhea to become worse. Both doctors now refuse to see me for the problem and tell me it is an emotional problem. The internal medicine doctor has prescribed several anti-anxiety drugs and they cause the diarrhea to become worse.

I went back to see the surgeon who removed my gallbladder and he discussed the bile problem related to the gallbladder surgery. I was so thrilled - I was not crazy. I had a physical problem and the drugs prescribed by the other doctors, who both knew I had had my gallbladder removed, did cause more problems. The surgeon prescribed Colestid, 1gm tablets to be taken four times a day. I was in heaven, my problems were over and I was going to have a normal life.

I took the first pill an hour before breakfast. Within that first hour both eyes swelled shut and I itched all over, especially my eyes and inside my ears. The itching lasted for about twenty-four hours and then I was constipated for three days.

Review by Jean

I can't believe my good fortune! I found Colestid granules. I tried the Colestid pill and it was much too big to swallow, so I returned to the pharmacist to have them cut in half, which she said wouldn't work because of the slow release in the ingredients. However, she did recommend granules and called my doctor to change my prescription.

I am an IBS sufferer and have been for what seems like forever. I am 69 years old and I am very active. I live in a city of one million people and I am sure I know where every bathroom is in the city. In fact the first thing I do in every restaurant is check where the bathroom is, then I have a panic attack regarding what I might be able to eat that won't go straight through me. There is no rhyme or reason as to what I am able to eat. In my car I carry a pail with a plastic bag insert just in case, and always another set of clothes. IBS is an absolute nightmare.

I have been to several doctors, and finally my family doctor sent me to a specialist who took an interest. He said that the problem started when I at 112 pounds had my first child who was 10 pounds three ounces which ruined my anus. Also, I had my gallbladder removed eight years ago, then I had the additional problem. So four months ago I started taking Colestid granules and I really think I died and went to heaven, I have not had a bowel problem since.

Review by Cheryl

I suffered with IBS for years in the form of constant diarrhea, and my doctors couldn't help me. My jobs tended to be very non-understanding about my constant, sometimes prolonged, trips to the bathroom for an 'imaginary' medical condition.

My gallbladder then failed, and had to be removed...which made me even sicker. One day, during a doctor's appointment, I basically refused to leave until the doctor found something that would help me. He flipped and flipped through his prescription book...finally giggled (yes, giggled) and wrote out a prescription for cholestyramine powder, three doses a day. I was in heaven. It stopped my symptoms cold.

It was very difficult to take at work, however, as I had no access to juice and it tasted horrible with water. I went back to the doctor and begged for a pill, which the doctor vehemently swore did not exist. Finally he prescribed me with a Colestid pill. He prescribed this for three doses day as well, but most days I take only one in the morning. One very important thing - I have to wait at least an hour, preferably two, after taking the medication before I eat, or it doesn't work. Even so, I am thankful every day for my Colestid.

Review by Gillian

I have been taking Colestid in powder form for 26 years now and I know that I couldn't live without it. My IBS started after the birth of my first child. My weight dropped to six stone and my family were convinced that I had cancer of some form. I had many tests which resulted in the removal of my gallbladder. The symptoms (pain and instant diarrhea after any food) continued and many different drugs were tried. My doctor thought he'd try Colestid (I take the orange flavor kind) and I've been taking it ever since!

I have to say that I wasn't aware it came in tablet form and I will be speaking to my doctor about it. My mother has told me that as a baby I didn't like or couldn't take any dairy products and it has since been diagnosed that I am lactose intolerant.

Review by Brigitte

I had terrible IBS and felt homebound because of it. I finally started on Colestid, and it seemed like a miracle. I have been taking it for seven years now. However, I have been experiencing back pain, and had X-rays done, which revealed osteo-arthritis in my spine. I am only 41 and this is not in my family. I researched and found that it is linked to low levels of vitamin K (K2 is especially important). Colestid is great, but I should have taken supplements with it.

Review by Lisa

I was like many of the people on this page, in that I had gallbladder surgery, and would then have bowel movements right after I ate. Sometimes half an hour after, sometimes up to two hours, and it did not matter what I ate. It would be light brown and if there was too much bile there would be yellow juice in the toilet too. I would go to school and teach and I would have to go to the restroom after lunch, it was horrible, sometimes running to the bathroom two or three times.

I spent two years trying to figure out why I was having diarrhea all the time. I searched and searched the internet and finally took all of my information to the doctor, and he put me on Colestid just like I wanted. If I forget a pill I am in trouble. I started with just one in the morning and that was enough. Now just recently I have been taking one in the morning and one in the evening. It does work great.

Review by Monica

I have had my gallbladder removed and have a continuing problem with running to the bathroom when I eat fatty food. Actually I couldn't even count on it being just fatty food. Finally I talked to a friend who is a doctor and he told me about Colestid. I take two tablets prior to any meals I think might make me sick. Now it is only rarely that I get sick. It has really been a help to me, especially when I am driving and don't want to risk having to find a bathroom quickly.

Review by David

I have suffered from IBS for over 20 years, and I could not find any medications for relief of severe cramping and diarrhea. I am six foot six and at one point my weight was down to 140lbs, I felt like there was no hope for me. Finally I found a doctor who took a real interest in helping me because I was losing so much weight. Everything I ate made me very sick. I always had cramps and diarrhea.

Then my doctor decided to try Colestid, two 1mg tablets in the morning and two 1mg tablets before bed. It worked like a miracle, I could eat anything I wanted and never got sick. However, the manufacturer does not make the 1mg tabs anymore, so I'm trying the powder form. Just started it so I don't know how well it's going to work. I'll let you know after I take it for at least a week, to let it get in my system and maintain an even level.

Review by Pam

Colestid comes in a pill, which makes it possible to take when you are out. It is a huge pill, but more convenient than the powder. It has the same effect as Questran, though chemically they are a bit different. When I approached my doctor about it, she had to look it up on the internet while I was in her office. Pretty funny and a little unnerving, but I was happy that she was open to my suggestion. It is working very well, and gives me so much confidence and control.

Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried Colestid? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.

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