Highlights for fenofibrate

  1. Fenofibrate oral tablet is available as brand-name drugs and as a generic drug. Brand names: Fenoglide, Tricor, and Triglide.
  2. Fenofibrate comes in two forms: oral tablet and oral capsule.
  3. Fenofibrate oral tablet is used to treat high cholesterol levels. It’s mainly used to treat severe high triglycerides (a type of bad cholesterol).

Important warnings

  • Muscle pain warning: This drug raises your risk of muscle pain and a serious muscle problem called rhabdomyolysis. The risk is higher if you take the drug along with statins.
  • Liver damage warning: Fenofibrate can cause abnormal results in tests of liver function. These abnormal results can indicate liver damage. This drug can also cause other liver damage and inflammation after years of use.
  • Gallstones warning: Fenofibrate raises your risk of gallstones.
  • Pancreatitis warning: Fenofibrate raises your risk of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

What is fenofibrate?

Fenofibrate is a prescription drug. It comes in two forms: oral tablet and oral capsule.

The oral tablet is available as the brand-name drugs Fenoglide, Tricor, and Triglide. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.

Fenofibrate may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other cholesterol drugs, such as statins.

Why it's used

Fenofibrate is used to improve cholesterol levels in three types of cholesterol problems:

  • Mixed dyslipidemia: high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Severe hypertriglyceridemia: very high levels of triglycerides
  • Primary hypercholesterolemia: very high levels of LDL cholesterol

Fenofibrate helps lower high levels of harmful cholesterol, mainly triglycerides. It also helps increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

How it works

Fenofibrate 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.

Fenofibrate works by increasing the breakdown and removal of bad cholesterol from your body. This helps reduce the risk of cholesterol building up in your blood vessels and causing serious health problems, such as heart attack or stroke.

Fenofibrate side effects

Fenofibrate oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

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

  • headache
  • back pain
  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • stuffy or runny nose

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 911 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:

  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:
    • swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
    • trouble breathing or swallowing
    • rash
  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:
    • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not 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.

Fenofibrate may interact with other medications

Fenofibrate oral tablet 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.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with fenofibrate are listed below.

Blood-thinning drug

Warfarin is a drug that’s used to thin the blood. Taking it with fenofibrate raises your risk of bleeding. If you take these drugs together, your doctor may do blood tests more often or change your dosage of warfarin.

Cholesterol drugs

Taking fenofibrate with certain cholesterol drugs called bile acid sequestrants may make it harder for your body to absorb fenofibrate. To prevent this, you should take fenofibrate 1 hour before taking the bile acid sequestrant, or 4–6 hours after taking it. Examples of bile acid sequestrants include:

  • cholestyramine
  • colesevelam
  • colestipol

Also, taking fenofibrate with cholesterol drugs called statins raises your risk of rhabdomyolysis. This is a serious condition that breaks down muscle. Examples of statin drugs include:

  • atorvastatin
  • fluvastatin
  • lovastatin
  • pitavastatin
  • pravastatin
  • rosuvastatin
  • simvastatin

Diabetes drugs

Taking fenofibrate with certain diabetes drugs called sulfonylureas raises your risk of low blood sugar. Examples of these drugs include:

  • glimepiride
  • glipizide
  • glyburide

Gout drug

Colchicine is a drug used to treat gout. Taking it with fenofibrate raises your risk of muscle pain.

Immunosuppressants

Taking fenofibrate with certain drugs that suppress your body’s immune response can increase the level of fenofibrate in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from fenofibrate. Examples of these drugs include:

  • cyclosporine
  • tacrolimus

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we can not 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.

Fenofibrate warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

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

  • rash
  • itching
  • hives

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 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).

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with liver disease: Fenofibrate can cause liver problems, which could lead to liver failure. Let your doctor know if you have a history of liver disease. Your doctor can tell you if fenofibrate is safe for you. If you have active liver disease, you should not take fenofibrate.

For people with kidney disease: Fenofibrate may cause abnormal results from tests of kidney function. These changes are typically temporary and not harmful. To be safe, your doctor may monitor your kidney function more often. If you have severe kidney disease, you should not take fenofibrate.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Fenofibrate 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 with 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.

If you become pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

For women who are breastfeeding: Fenofibrate may pass into breast milk and cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk with your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

How to take fenofibrate

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

Drug forms and strengths

Generic: Fenofibrate

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 40 mg, 48 mg, 54 mg, 107 mg, 120 mg, 145 mg, 160 mg

Brand: Fenoglide

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 40 mg, 120 mg

Brand: Tricor

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 48 mg, 145 mg

Brand: Triglide

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strength: 160 mg

Dosage for primary hypercholesterolemia and mixed dyslipidemia

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Brand-name drugs

  • Fenoglide: 120 mg per day.
  • Tricor: 160 mg per day.
  • Triglide: 160 mg per day.

Generic drug

  • Fenofibrate: 120–160 mg per day, depending on the generic product prescribed.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used 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, including fenofibrate, more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Dosage for severe hypertriglyceridemia

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Brand-name drugs:

  • Fenoglide: 40–120 mg per day.
  • Tricor: 54–160 mg per day.
  • Triglide: 160 mg per day.

Generic drug

  • Fenofibrate: 40–120 mg per day or 54–160 mg per day, depending on the generic product prescribed.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used 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, including fenofibrate, more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dosage or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Special dosage considerations

For people with kidney disease: If you have mild kidney disease, you may need a lower dose of fenofibrate.

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

Take as directed

Fenofibrate oral tablet is used for long-term treatment. It comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: Your cholesterol levels may not be controlled. This raises your risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

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 of this drug can include:

  • headache
  • back pain
  • nausea
  • muscle pain
  • diarrhea
  • common cold
  • upper respiratory tract infection

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 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: Your cholesterol levels should improve. You won’t feel fenofibrate working, but your doctor will check your cholesterol levels using blood tests. Your doctor may adjust your dosage based on the results of these tests.

Important considerations for taking fenofibrate

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes fenofibrate for you.

General

  • Fenofibrate tablets should be taken with food. This can help increase the amount of drug your body absorbs.
  • Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor.
  • Don’t cut or crush the tablets.

Storage

  • Store Fenoglide and Tricor tablets at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Store generic fenofibrate tablets and Triglide tablets between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Don’t store these medications in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.
  • Keep Triglide in its moisture-protective container until you’re ready to take it.

Refills

A prescription for this medication 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 harm your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container 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 health during your treatment with this drug. They’ll do blood tests to help make sure your cholesterol levels are within the range your doctor feels is best for you. The tests will also tell if your medication is working.

Also, your doctor will likely monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while taking this drug. These issues include:

  • Kidney function. Blood tests can check how well your kidneys are working. If your kidneys aren’t working well, your doctor may lower your dosage of this drug.
  • Liver function. Blood tests can check how well your liver is working. If your tests are abnormal, it may mean that fenofibrate is causing damage to your liver. Your doctor may switch you to a different medication.
  • Lipid levels. Blood tests can check how well this drug is lowering your cholesterol and triglycerides. Your doctor may change your therapy based upon these results.

Your diet

In addition to taking this drug, you should follow a heart-healthy diet to help control your cholesterol levels. Talk with your doctor about a diet plan that’s right for you.

Availability

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.

Prior authorization

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

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.

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 here in 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.