Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP Last updated on RxList: 10/1/2021
Questran Side Effects Center

What Is Questran?

Questran (cholestyramine) for Oral Suspension is a cholesterol-lowering agent used to lower high levels of cholesterol in the blood, especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ("bad" cholesterol). Questran powder is also used to treat itching caused by a blockage in the bile ducts of the gallbladder. The brand name Questran is discontinued in the U.S. Generic forms may still be available.

What Are Side Effects of Questran?

Common side effects of Questran (cholestyramine) include:

  • constipation,
  • diarrhea,
  • stomach/abdominal pain,
  • gas,
  • bloating,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • loss of appetite,
  • weight changes,
  • hiccups,
  • a sour taste in your mouth,
  • skin rash or itching,
  • irritation of your tongue,
  • itching or irritation around your rectal area,
  • muscle or joint pain,
  • dizziness,
  • spinning sensation, or
  • ringing in your ears.

Tell your doctor if you experience rare but serious side effects of Questran (cholestyramine) including:

  • severe stomach/abdominal pain,
  • unusual bleeding/bruising,
  • rapid breathing, or
  • confusion.

Dosage for Questran


The recommended starting adult dose for all cholestyramine powdered products is one packet or one level scoopful once or twice a day. The recommended maintenance dose is 2 to 4 packets or scoopfuls daily (8-16 grams anhydrous cholestyramine resin) divided into two doses.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Questran?

Cholestyramine may interact with blood thinners, digoxin, propranolol, diuretics (water pills), thyroid hormones, birth control pills or hormone replacement, seizure medicines, or antibiotics. Tell your doctor all medications you use. During pregnancy, cholestyramine should be used only when prescribed. It may affect the absorption of certain nutrients.

Questran During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

This medication is unlikely to pass into breast milk, but it may affect the absorption of certain nutrients. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Questran (cholestyramine) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


What is cholesterol? See Answer
Questran Consumer Information

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Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • ongoing or worsening constipation;
  • severe stomach pain;
  • blood in your urine;
  • black, bloody, or tarry stools; or
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding.

Side effects such as constipation may be more likely in older adults.

Common side effects may include:

  • mild constipation, diarrhea;
  • stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite;
  • bloating or gas;
  • irritation of your tongue; or
  • itching or irritation around your rectal area.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Questran (Cholestyramine)


How to Lower Your Cholesterol & Save Your Heart See Slideshow
Questran Professional Information


The most common adverse reaction is constipation. When used as a cholesterol-lowering agent predisposing factors for most complaints of constipation are high dose and increased age (more than 60 years old). Most instances of constipation are mild, transient, and controlled with conventional therapy. Some patients require a temporary decrease in dosage or discontinuation of therapy.

Less Frequent Adverse Reactions: Abdominal discomfort and/or pain, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, eructation, anorexia, and steatorrhea, bleeding tendencies due to hypoprothrombinemia (Vitamin K deficiency) as well as Vitamin A (one case of night blindness reported) and D deficiencies, hyperchloremic acidosis in children, osteoporosis, rash and irritation of the skin, tongue and perianal area. Rare reports of intestinal obstruction, including two deaths, have been reported in pediatric patients.

Occasional calcified material has been observed in the biliary tree, including calcification of the gallbladder, in patients to whom QUESTRAN has been given. However, this may be a manifestation of the liver disease and not drug related.

One patient experienced biliary colic on each of three occasions on which he took QUESTRAN. One patient diagnosed as acute abdominal symptom complex was found to have a “pasty mass” in the transverse colon on x-ray.

Other events (not necessarily drug related) reported in patients taking QUESTRAN include:

Gastrointestinal: GI-rectal bleeding, black stools, hemorrhoidal bleeding, bleeding from known duodenal ulcer, dysphagia, hiccups, ulcer attack, sour taste, pancreatitis, rectal pain, diverticulitis.

Laboratory test changes: Liver function abnormalities.

Hematologic: Prolonged prothrombin time, ecchymosis, anemia

Hypersensitivity: Urticaria, asthma, wheezing, shortness of breath.

Musculoskeletal: Backache, muscle and joint pains, arthritis.

Neurologic: Headache, anxiety, vertigo, dizziness, fatigue, tinnitus, syncope, drowsiness, femoral nerve pain, paresthesia.

Eye: Uveitis.

Renal: Hematuria, dysuria, burnt odor to urine, diuresis.

Miscellaneous: Weight loss, weight gain, increased libido, swollen glands, edema, dental bleeding, dental caries, erosion of tooth enamel, tooth discoloration.

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Questran (Cholestyramine)

© Questran Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Questran Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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