Gemfibrozil | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

gemfibrozil, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Lopid
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Highlights for gemfibrozil

Oral tablet
1

Gemfibrozil is used to lower triglycerides, a type of fat in your bloodstream. Having very high levels of triglycerides raises your risk of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

2

This drug comes in the form of a tablet you take by mouth.

3

Gemfibrozil is available as a brand-name drug called Lopid. It’s also available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include stomach upset or pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

5

In some cases, gemfibrozil can cause serious side effects. These include gallstones and muscle toxicity. These conditions can lead to kidney failure.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Gallstones

Gemfibrozil may cause you to develop gallstones. If you develop gallstones, you should stop using this drug.

Combination with statins

Gemfibrozil should not be taken with simvastatin, another cholesterol drug. Using gemfibrozil with simvastatin or other drugs in the statin class may result in serious muscle toxicity. This condition can cause kidney failure or death.

Drug features

Gemfibrozil is a prescription drug. It’s available as a tablet you take by mouth.

Gemfibrozil is available as the brand-name drug Lopid. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

Why it’s used

Gemfibrozil is used to lower your levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood. Very high levels of triglycerides raise your risk of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

How it works

Gemfibrozil belongs to a class of drugs called fibric acid derivatives. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How it works

Gemfibrozil belongs to a class of drugs called fibric acid derivatives. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Gemfibrozil works by changing the amount of cholesterol and other fats (lipids) in your body. Gemfibrozil lowers triglyceride levels and raises HDL cholesterol levels. (HDL is considered a good type of cholesterol.)

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gemfibrozil Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of gemfibrozil include:

  • stomach upset

  • stomach pain

  • diarrhea

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • constipation

  • rash

  • dizziness

  • headache
  • changes in the way things taste
  • muscle pain

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Gallstones. Symptoms can include:

    • pain in the right upper part of your abdomen (stomach area)
    • nausea
    • vomiting
  • Rhabdomyolysis (muscle toxicity). Symptoms can include:

    • pain, tenderness, or weakness in your muscles
    • dark-colored urine
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

You may develop gallstones when taking gemfibrozil. You may need gallbladder surgery. Symptoms of gallstones include pain in the right upper part of your abdomen (stomach area), and nausea or vomiting.

Gemfibrozil doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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gemfibrozil May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Gemfibrozil can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Blood-thinning drugs

Warfarin is used to thin the blood. When it’s used with gemfibrozil, the effects of warfarin can be increased. This raises your risk of bleeding. Your doctor may reduce your warfarin dose and monitor you more often when starting gemfibrozil.

Cancer drugs

Bexarotene is used to treat certain types of cancer. Don’t use this drug with gemfibrozil.

Cholesterol drugs

Using gemfibrozil with certain diabetes drugs can increase the effects of those drugs. This raises your risk of severe low blood sugar levels. Don’t use these drugs with gemfibrozil. Examples of these drugs include:

  • repaglinide
  • glyburine
  • glimepride
  • glipizide
  • nateglinide

Diabetes drugs

Colchicine is used to treat gout. Using gemfibrozil with this drug raises your risk of serious muscle toxicity. This condition can cause kidney failure or death. You may be at greater risk if you are a senior (aged 65 years or older) or have kidney problems.

Gout drugs

Dasabuvir is used to treat hepatitis C.Don’t use this drug with gemfibrozil.

Hepatitis C drugs

Tizanidine is used to relax certain muscles in the body. Don’t use this drug with gemfibrozil.

Muscle relaxants

Tizanidine is used to relax certain muscles in the body. Don’t use this drug with gemfibrozil.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with kidney problems

Gemfibrozil may make your kidney disease worse. If you have kidney failure, you should not use gemfibrozil.

People with heart disease

Gemfibrozil has not been shown to decrease your risk of death from heart disease. Your doctor may stop your use of gemfibrozil if you don’t have a large decrease in your triglycerides.

Pregnant women

Gemfibrozil is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

Gemfibrozil may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You should not breast-feed and use this drug at the same time.

For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

Allergies

Gemfibrozil can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat

If you have a reaction, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take gemfibrozil (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

High cholesterol

Brand: Lopid

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 600 mg

Generic: gemfibrozil

Form: oral tablet
Strengths: 600 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years):

The typical dose is 600 mg twice per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years):

It has not been confirmed that gemfibrozil is safe and effective for use in children. Do not use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older):

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

If you have kidney problems, your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Gemfibrozil comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your triglyceride levels may rise. If your triglyceride levels are too high, you are at higher risk of heart disease or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • stomach upset
  • headache
  • muscle pain

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have a decrease in your triglycerides and an increase in your HDL. You may not feel any different when taking this medication. Your doctor will monitor your cholesterol levels to make sure the drug is working for you.

Gemfibrozil is used for long-term treatment

Your doctor may decide to stop gemfibrozil after three months of therapy if you don’t have enough change in your triglyceride levels.

Important considerations for taking gemfibrozil
take before meals This drug should be taken before meals
take before meals Take this drug 30 minutes before your morning and evening meails
do not crush or cut You should not cut or crush the tablet
Storage Store this drug carefully See Details
Prescription is refillable Prescription is refillable See Details
Travel Travel See Details
Clinical monitoring Clinical monitoring See Details
Your diet Your diet See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store gemfibrozil at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Prescription is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor your triglyceride levels. They may check your triglyceride levels every 3 to 12 months to make sure this drug is working.

Your diet

In addition to using gemfibrozil, a good diet is important to help you control your triglyceride levels. Weight loss can also help get triglyceride levels back into a normal range. Talk to your doctor or dietitian for more information.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does gemfibrozil Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for gemfibrozil

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for gemfibrozil on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on October 10, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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