Bile Acid Sequestrants

In order to understand how bile acid sequestrants work, you must first understand how the body uses bile in fat metabolism.

Bile is the substance that the body uses to help digest fats. It is made in the liver, and stored in the gallbladder.

When dietary fats reach the small intestine, the gallbladder squeezes bile into the small intestine to aid in the digestion and transport of these fats.

Particles made up of bile and fat are reabsorbed by the small intestine, go into the blood, and travel directly to the liver where the bile is recycled.

Ion exchange resins absorb bile acid in the intestinal tract rather than let it be reabsorbed and reused by the body. This bile deficit causes the liver to produce more bile.

Since the liver uses cholesterol to produce bile, bile acid sequestrants reduce cholesterol levels in the blood stream.

Bile acid sequestrants help:

  • Reduce LDL
  • Increase HDL
  • May increase triglycerides
  • Reduce major coronary events
  • Reduce coronary heart disease mortality

Common Bile Acid Sequestrants

Below is a list of common brand name bile acid sequestrants and the associated active ingredient found in the medication.

Click on the associated hyper-text link for a complete fact sheet on the associated medication to find out about drug interactions, side effects, and other useful information.


SOURCE: Drug Digest at

Related Links

Comparison of Various Bile Acid Sequestrants

Drug Interaction Checker

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This page was last updated on 09/15/06.