Bile acids, which are normally present in the digestive tract,
stimulate the colon. Bile acid binding agents prevent bile acids from
stimulating the colon, which slows the passage of stools and relieves diarrhea.
It is not common for bile to cause this problem, but if it does, these
medicines can help. They usually are not tried soon after a person is
diagnosed. But if symptoms don't improve with usual treatment, they may be
Bile acid binding agents, such as cholestyramine (such as Olestyr), are
mixed with water and may be taken several times a day.
These medicines are usually prescribed to treat high cholesterol.
Side effects include nausea, bloating, gas, feelings of fullness, abdominal
(belly) pain, and constipation. These side effects may be similar to the symptoms that
the medicine is intended to treat.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerArvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology