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Information About Lopid (Gemfibrozil)

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Updated September 15, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

General Information About Lopid (Gemfibrozil):

Lopid (gemfibrozil) is a cholesterol-lowering medication that belongs to the fibrate class of drugs. It is one of the oldest fibrates on the market. Like other fibrates, Lopid affects all aspects of your cholesterol profile, lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising your HDL cholesterol. Lopid is available as a generic, and usually dispensed in this form.

How Lopid (Gemfibrozil) Works:

The mechanism of action of Lopid is not completely known. Lopid appears to block the secretion of VLDL by the liver and increase clearance of VLDL, both leading to a decrease in the amount of VLDL in the body. Additionally, Lopid inhibits the breakdown of fats, or lipolysis, which can also lower VLDL cholesterol in the body.

Because VLDL serves as a precursor to LDL cholesterol, lowering the amount of VLDL in the blood will also help lower your triglycerides and LDL. The mechanism behind how Lopid lowers HDL is not currently known.

How to Take Lopid (Gemfibrozil):

This medication is usually taken at least 30 minutes before a meal (usually before breakfast and dinner), or as directed by your healthcare provider. If an upset stomach occurs, Lopid may be taken with a small meal or milk. If needed, you may crush or cut the tablet in half.

Who Should Not Take Lopid (Gemfibrozil):

The following individuals should not take Lopid:

  • Those who have previously had an allergic reaction to Lopid or any of its components.
  • Those who are taking repaglinide.
  • Those who have active liver disease, or abnormally high liver enzyme levels.
  • Those who have severe kidney disease, or are receiving dialysis.
  • Those who have gallbladder disease.

If you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, please consult your healthcare provider immediately. There have not been enough studies conducted in human populations to examine the safety of taking this drug during these circumstances.

General Side Effects of Lopid (Gemfibrozil):

The most commonly reported side effects include:
  • Fatigue
  • Myalgia
  • Gastrointestinal problems (abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation)
  • Lowered hemoglobin, hematocrit, or white blood cell count (usually resolves with time)
  • Dizziness

Serious Side Effects of Lopid (Gemfibrozil):

The following are serious side effects of Lopid, which could increase when taken with other medications, such as statins. If you experience any of these rare side effects, you should immediately contact your healthcare provider:

  • Rhabodmyolysis -- Let your healthcare provider know if you are experiencing symptoms, such as the presence of brown urine or unexplained muscle pain or weakness.

Drugs That Could Interact With Lopid (Gemfibrozil):

  • Lopid could increase the effects of Coumadin (warfarin), leading to increased risk of bleeding.
  • Taking Lopid with statin drugs could result in an increased risk of myopathy or rhabdomyolysis. 
  • Lopid may increase levels of certain antidiabetic agents in your body, increasing your risk for developing hypoglycemia. These include drugs, such as Prandin (repaglinide), sulfonyureas (glyburide, glipizide) and thiazolidinediones (Actos (pioglitizone), Avandia (rosiglitizone)).
  • Lopid may increase levels of Zetia (ezetimibe) in the body.
  • Colchicine may increase the risk of myopathy and/or rhabdomyolysis when taken with Lopid.
  • Plavix (clopidogrel) may reduce the effectiveness of Plavix, resulting in increased risk of thrombosis.
  • Lopid may lower the effect of ursodiol when these medications are taken together.
  • Bile acid sequestrants decrease the effectiveness of Lopid.
  • Cyclosporine could increase effects of Lopid when these two drugs are taken together.

You may need to take Lopid with one or more of the medications listed above. In this case, you will be more closely monitored by your healthcare provider so that he or she can detect possible problems. Additionally, you should disclose that you are taking Lopid to all of your healthcare providers (including your primary care physician, specialists and pharmacists) in order to prevent potential drug interactions.

Disclaimer:

This information is just a brief overview of Lopid (gemfibrozil). This is not inclusive and should not replace the information provided by your healthcare provider or the manufacturer of this drug.

Sources:

Lopid [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc; 2008.

Micromedex Healthcare Series [Internet database]. Greenwood Village, CO: Thomson Reuters (Healthcare) Inc. Updated periodically.

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