Take fenofibrate tablets/capsules during a meal, or soon afterwards.
Follow carefully any lifestyle advice you have been given such as stopping smoking, avoiding drinking too much alcohol, eating a healthy diet and taking exercise.
If you develop any unusual aches and pains in your muscles, contact your doctor for advice as soon as possible.
|Type of medicine||A lipid-regulating medicine commonly known as a fibrate|
|Used for||Hyperlipidaemia (in adults)|
|Also called||Lipantil®; Supralip®|
|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.
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.
Before taking fenofibrate
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may 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, such 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 this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The manufacturer's leaflet will give you more information about fenofibrate and a full list of side-effects which you may 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 your doses with or immediately after a meal. 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 tablets/capsules 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, miss out the forgotten dose. 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. Use a sunscreen that protects against UVA light and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Protect your skin in strong sunlight or until you know how your skin reacts. Do not use sunbeds.
- 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 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 more common ones associated with fenofibrate. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. Unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but 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 who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Indigestion, abdominal pain, wind, feeling sick||Stick to simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Feeling tired, balance problems||If this happens do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel better|
|Itchy skin rash||Use a suncream to protect your skin from sunlight. If the rash becomes troublesome, let your doctor know|
Important: if you develop any muscle aches or pains, particularly in your legs, you should tell your doctor about it as soon as possible. This is an uncommon but serious side-effect of treatment.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
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
- British National Formulary; 66th Edition (September 2013) 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 make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr John Cox