Welcome PT - Welchol ?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 6/15/2008 12:27 AM (GMT -7)   
PT said...

I am a new member and I have several questions regarding medications and their usage.

Over the last couple of years I have gradually developed a problem with urgent diarrhea usually shortly after eating.

about a month ago I visited a nurse practitioner for help. After a stool sample to test for parasites was negative, she started  me on Questran. I used it for 7 days(two doses per day) with no noticeable improvement and it also caused heartburn sometimes. The first couple of days started out suggesting some improvement, but subsequent usage indicated basically no improvement.

Following the Questran, I started Welchol initially at 3 pills once a day. The first couple of days suggested some improvement which proved illusory. After 3 days I increased dosage to 4 per day for 3 days, then 5 per day for 4 days, and I am presently at 5 per day. It appears that the Welchol is providing some improvement. On some days it would be up to three hours after eating before having a BM. However sometimes there was very little increase in the time after eating before having a BM. Also, the BM's are more frequently nearer normal as opposed to being almost watery.  What discouraged me yesterday was a day of 5 or 6 liquid BM's.

Let me mention also early in the treatment trials I tried up to 3 imodium pills with no effect except bloating and stomach ache. And also tried up to 2 Lomotil pills with no effect except bloating and/or stomach ache. These symptoms are unusual for me. I don't normally experience these when having diarrhea.

I will mention that I had my gall bladder removed about 25 years ago, but concluded this is not significant since I didn't experience diarrhea for over 20 years.

My questions are:

1. Are my trial periods too short between dosage increases or changing to a different medication?

2. Since the Welchol still suggests some promise, I am considering supplementing this with perhaps one Caltrate 600 tablet per day. Do you think this would be a good move? (I have been reluctant to use too much Caltrate because I had a bout of kidney stones several years ago and my Urologist recommended avoiding calcium.)

I would appreciate your guidance concerning my treatment game plan and also any other suggestions you may have.

With Best Regards,


Hi PT, welcome to HealingWell!  :-)
First I have to start off by reminding everyone that this site is not intended for medical use.  No one on these boards are qualified to give medical advise.  Please, ALWAYS consult a doctor before changing/adding/stopping medication(s).
With that said, have you spoken to your doc about your ongoing issues?  Have you been scoped?
There are few regulars on this board (in particular, Keri) that is missing a gallbladder and is currently on Welchol and Caltrate 600 to help control the D.  The combination seems to work quite well for most.  And, from everything I've read and heard, calcium is not damaging to the kidneys unless more than 1500mg are taken a day.  Calcium could be your saving grace.  You should bring it up to your doc and see if you're capable of starting off with maybe 600mg a day.
Hopefully others will be on here shorty to give you more input.
BTW - I started a new topic for you because sometimes new posts can get lost in older threads.  You might get more replies this way.

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/15/2008 11:04 AM (GMT -7)   

Dear Lil,

Thank you for your reply and for starting a new thread for me.

I appreciate your guidance. Regarding seeking medical guidance, I agree with you this is important and I have a good relationship with the Nurse Practitioner I mentioned. She is a very nice lady and easy to communicate with.

Regarding my scope history, I had my last colonoscopy 5 years ago and have never had any abnormalities reported. My next routine colonoscopy is scheduled for 2012. My Nurse Practitioner recommended having one now, but I requested we postpone it until we have exhausted all other treatments. One reason for this is I have a sister-in-law who experienced a colon wall puncture during a colonoscopy about 2 years ago. She had to wear a bag for almost one year until the puncture was treated. So I a little gun shy about doing this until it is absolutely necessary.

I was glad to see that you endorsed trying the Caltrate600 plus Welchol combination. If the Welchol alone doesn't do it completely for me, I lean toward giving the combination a try.

Again thanks for starting a separate thread and I hope I will get some other input.

Best Regards,





Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 6/17/2008 8:32 AM (GMT -7)   
There have been people on here before who have taken as many as 6 Welchols a day, so it's not entirely unheard of to have to take a lot. I take mine first thing in the morning, then typically wait a couple of hours to eat, as I am most likely to have stomach problems in the morning. I take two right now, but if I have more than a couple of bowel movements in the morning, I usually take a third to stop them. I take two calcium pills before bed with a multi-vitamin. The Welchol interferes with absorption of a number of things, including fat soluable vitamins. After being on it for several years, I developed a constant malaise and I was almost constantly sick with every weird thing going around. When I started on the vitamins, the malaise disappeared and I don't get sick as often. Because the Welchol interferes with not only natural vitamin absorption, but the pill kind too, I take the multi-vitamin and calcium at night so I am as far opposite the Welchol dose as possible, so I get the most benefit from both. Also, never hurts to put some calcium in the gut before shutting it down for the night. Again, my worst time is first thing in the morning.

Do you do anything to limit your diet? Even with the Welchol, there are things I can't have. Namely sugar alcohols (found in sugar-free products), caffeine, fruit juice, raw apples, and anything commercially deep fried. Milk is a bit touchy; I have to be careful how much of it I consume at one time.
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