Take fenofibrate tablets/capsules with food.
Some lifestyle changes will also help to reduce your lipid level - eat healthy food, stop smoking, increase the exercise you take, and reduce the amount of salt in your diet.If you develop any unusual aches and pains in your muscles, contact your doctor for advice.
|Type of medicine||A lipid-regulating medicine commonly known as a fibrate|
|Used for||Hyperlipidaemia (in adults)|
|Also called||Lipantil®; Supralip®; Cholib® (a combination of fenofibrate with simvastatin)|
|Available as||Capsules and tablets|
Lipid is another word for fat. Cholesterol and triglycerides are types of lipid. When the concentration of lipids in your blood is too high, it is called hyperlipidaemia. Lipids are made naturally in our bodies and are also absorbed from the food we eat. If the levels of lipids are too high, the excess fat is deposited on to the walls of our blood vessels. This can lead to patches like small fatty lumps developing within the lining of some blood vessels. These patches can reduce the flow of blood, and lead to heart disease, stroke, and blood circulation problems.
High levels of lipids do not make people feel ill, but they can cause the problems mentioned above if left untreated. By lowering the levels of fats, fenofibrate helps to prevent these long-term heart and circulation problems. Your treatment will be more successful if you also follow the healthy lifestyle advice given by your doctor.
It is likely that you will be prescribed fenofibrate if you have a high level of a lipid called triglyceride. It may also be given for other types of hyperlipidaemia, especially if other medicines (called statins) are not suitable for you.
Sometimes, more than one medicine is needed to help control high blood lipids. A brand of fenofibrate called Cholib® also contains a statin medicine called simvastatin. For people who need to take a fibrate and a statin medicine, taking a combination brand like this helps to reduce the total number of tablets needed each day.
Before taking fenofibrate
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking fenofibrate it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have problems with the way your kidneys work, or problems with the way your liver works.
- If you have problems with your gallbladder or pancreas.
- If you have an underactive thyroid.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have ever had a bad skin reaction to a medicine called ketoprofen (used to treat pain and swelling).
How to take fenofibrate
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about fenofibrate, and it will also provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking it.
- Take fenofibrate exactly as your doctor tells you to. The usual dose is one 200 mg capsule (Lipantil®) or one 160 mg tablet (Supralip®) each day. Your dose, however, may be higher or lower than this.
- You should take fenofibrate with food, so taking your doses during a mealtime is ideal. This is because fenofibrate is absorbed better by your body when there is some food in your stomach. Some people find it helps to swallow the tablet/capsule with a drink of water.
- You can generally take fenofibrate at a time of day to suit you, but it is best to take your doses with the same meal each day. This will help remind you to take your tablets/capsules regularly.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, leave out the forgotten dose from the previous day and take the dose that is due as normal. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress. You will need to have regular blood tests during the first year of your treatment with fenofibrate. These are to check that your liver stays healthy.
- Your doctor will give you advice about eating a healthy diet, avoiding drinking too much alcohol, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, stopping smoking, and taking regular exercise. Following this advice will also help you to reduce your risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease.
- Treatment with fenofibrate is usually long-term unless you experience an adverse effect. Continue to take the tablets/capsules unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor.
- Fenofibrate may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than normal. Until you know how your skin reacts, avoid strong sunlight and sunbeds, and use a sun cream with a high sun protection factor even on bright but cloudy days.
- There are several different strengths of fenofibrate capsules available. If you have been prescribed capsules (brand Lipantil®), each time you collect a new supply check to make sure they are the same strength of capsule as you have had before.
Can fenofibrate cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the ones associated with fenofibrate. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer's printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer's information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common fenofibrate side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Indigestion, tummy (abdominal) pain, wind, feeling sick||Stick to simple meals - avoid fatty or spicy foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Changes to some blood tests||Your doctor will check for this|
|Less common fenofibrate side-effects ||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Headache||Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Muscle aches or pains||You should let your doctor know about this|
|Itchy skin rash||Use a sun cream to protect your skin from sunlight. If the rash becomes troublesome, let your doctor know|
|Reduced sex drive, gallstones, increased risk of unwanted blood clots||Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about any of these|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store fenofibrate
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Lipantil® Micro 200; Mylan Products Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2016.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Supralip® 160 mg; Mylan Products Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2016.
- British National Formulary; 72nd Edition (Sep 2016) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr John Cox