How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Fenofibrate belongs to the class of medications known as fibrates. It is used in addition to diet and exercise to treat high cholesterol.
Fenofibrate reduces bad cholesterol (low density lipoproteins [LDL] and very low density lipoproteins [VLDL]) and triglycerides in your blood. It also increases good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein [LDL]) levels. Reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood has been shown to reduce the risks associated with heart disease, such as heart attack.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Nu-Fenofibrate is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under fenofibrate. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
How should I use this medication?
The usual adult dose of fenofibrate is 200 mg per day. The 100 mg capsules are taken as one capsule twice daily with plenty of fluid, with or after a meal.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Fenofibrate should not be taken by anyone who:
- is allergic to fenofibrate or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- is allergic to other medications of the fibrate class (e.g., gemfibrozil, bezafibrate, clofibrate)
- is pregnant or breast-feeding
- has a disorder known as type 1 hyperlipoproteinemia
- has severe liver disease, kidney disease, or gallbladder disease
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- constipation or diarrhea
- red, itchy skin
- runny nose
- skin rash
- stomach pain
Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- severe stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- signs of liver problems (e.g., dark urine, general feeling of being unwell, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, or yellowing of the eyes or skin)
- unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, weakness, chills, or fever
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Combination therapy: The use of fenofibrate and "statin" medications (e.g., atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin) at the same time may increase the risk of side effects. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking the two types of medications together.
Gallbladder disease: Fenofibrate may cause gallstones to form in some people.
Liver function: People with certain types of liver disease should have their liver function monitored by their doctor while taking this medication.
Skeletal muscle: On rare occasions, treatment with this type of medication has been associated with muscle pain, usually in people with reduced kidney function. You should contact your doctor as soon as possible if you notice unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, particularly if you also have malaise (general feeling of illness) or fever.
Pregnancy: Women who take this medication and who could become pregnant must use strict methods of birth control. Anyone who becomes pregnant in spite of birth control should stop taking fenofibrate and contact their doctor. Women who are planning pregnancy should stop taking fenofibrate several months before conception.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Fenofibrate should not be used by breast-feeding mothers.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for use by children.
Seniors: Seniors are more likely to have reduced kidney function and may need lower doses of this medication.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between fenofibrate and any of the following:
- cholestyramine resin
- MAO inhibitors (e.g., phenelzine)
- "statin" medications (e.g., atorvastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.