Fenofibrate is a drug typically prescribed for patients with high blood pressure due to excessive triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. It works to reduce these substances in order to ward off conditions such as cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries — also know as atherosclerosis — and heart attacks. Fenofibrate is marketed under the product names Antara®, Fenoglide®, Lipofen®, Lofibra®, TriCor®, and Triglide®.
The body already has a natural method for expelling excess cholesterol. Fenofibrate helps to increase the speed and efficiency of this expulsion process. By reducing the accumulation of fats and cholesterol in the arteries, it helps the body to function more efficiently and under less strain. It enables blood, and the oxygen it carries, to travel more quickly and effectively throughout the body, supplying all vital organs.
Fenofibrate is taken orally, either by tablet or capsule. Some types of capsules are delayed-release or long-acting. The drug is typically taken once daily. Depending on the brand, a doctor may also suggest that fenofibrate be taken with food.
Many doctors will start with a low dose of fenofibrate while carefully monitoring the patient. Based on laboratory tests, a doctor may gradually increase or decrease the dosage. If the patient does not show improvement after being on the drug for a couple of months, most medical professionals will discontinue its use.
In order to be effective, fenofibrate must be combined with a healthy diet. Doctors will typically prescribe a regular regime of foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats. This will help to prevent the continued build-up of the fatty substances that the drug works to eliminate.
There are several pre-existing conditions which may either make taking fenofibrate too risky or require that a patient be carefully monitored while taking the drug. It is usually not safe for a patient who has had gallbladder, kidney, or liver disease to take the drug. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are typically advised to avoid fenofibrate. Diabetes and hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid gland, may also be problematic.
The most common mild side effects of taking fenofibrate include headache, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation. Some patients may also have a pain in their back, legs, or arms. Most of these side effects will subside on their own and should only be reported to a doctor if they do not eventually disappear or if they become more severe.
There are several possible severe side effects from taking fenofibrate. They include shortness of breath or painful breathing, nausea, vomiting, or coughing up blood. There may be fever, rash, hives, and peeling or blistering skin. Patients can also experience tenderness or pain in the muscles. These symptoms should be reported to a medical professional immediately.