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What is Clofibrate?

Article Details
  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 25 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Clofibrate is a medication that is utilized, together with diet and exercise, to reduce the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Successful cholesterol reduction can help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke caused by clogged blood vessels. Clofibrate, also known by the brand name Atromid-S, is administered via a liquid-filled capsule taken two to four times a day. It should not be taken by pregnant women or patients with certain liver or kidney conditions. Common side effects include bloating, nausea, headache, and drowsiness.

An individual with elevated levels of fatty substances called cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood can can suffer serious health consequences, such as blocked blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. To bring the levels down to a healthy state, doctors usually recommend diet and exercise. If these measures don't work on their own, medications like clofibrate can be added to the patient's treatment regimen.

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Clofibrate is effective at lowering the levels of very low-density-lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It accomplishes this by blocking the production of these substances in the liver. It is taken in capsule form and can be ingested with food to help reduce stomach upset if desired. The typical dose is 1.5 to 2 grams (0.053 to 0.07 ounce) daily which is usually spread out in two to four doses. It is important to take it exactly as prescribed by the doctor, along with sticking to a recommended diet and exercise plan, to achieve the maximum benefit from the medicine.

Similar to any medication, clofibrate should be avoided by certain individuals. For example, it shouldn't be used by pregnant women or nursing mothers; it can have harmful effects if passed to the baby in the womb or through breast milk. To prevent serious complications, patients with liver disease, kidney disease, or biliary cirrhosis are advised not to take it. Conditions that may require additional monitoring or special doses of clofibrate include diabetes, intestinal or stomach ulcers, or hypothyroidism. The patient should discuss his or her complete medical history with the doctor to ensure safe medication use.

Common side effects of clofibrate include bloating, gas, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, slight weight gain, fatigue, and impotence. Rare side effects include muscle pain or cramps, sores on the lips or in the mouth, stomach pain, and heartburn. Some effects can indicate a serious problem and require medical attention as soon as possible. These include blood in the urine, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, fever, cough, back or side pain, and swelling of the lower extremities.

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