From the authors of MOLD: The War Within

Cholestyramine—Is It Causing More Harm Than Good?

07 Nov Cholestyramine—Is It Causing More Harm Than Good?

Mold sufferers often ask us about a pharmaceutical drug called Cholestyramine. They want to know about the efficacy of Cholestyramine as a possible treatment option for mold-related illnesses. They want to know if we used Cholestyramine and if not—why.

When we were sick from mold-related illnesses, we researched Cholestyramine and put it on our list of possible treatment options but it was not anywhere near the top of our list or even near the middle for several reasons.

Our Concerns about Cholestyramine

Our reservations about using cholestyramine fall into the following categories:

  • Off-label Use
  • Interactions with Other Medications
  • Documented Side Effects
  • Other Possible Side Effects
  • Limited in Treatment Scope
Off-label Use—Is It safe?

We were concerned about taking a cholesterol-lowering pharmaceutical drug, such as Cholestyramine, when we did not present with high cholesterol, as health problems can be caused by too low of cholesterol levels. Dr. David Williams states: Studies have shown that low cholesterol levels are directly linked to problems such as:

  • Depression
  • Violent behavior and suicide
  • Aggression
  • Increased stroke risk
  • Poor immune function
Interactions with Other Medications

We were concerned about using Cholestyramine due to its high potential for interaction with other medications. Dr. David Williams points out the types of pharmaceutical drugs that can interact with Cholestyramine, “This drug can also trigger severe reactions when taken with certain families of drugs such as blood thinners, thyroid hormones, and diabetes and heart medications.”

Documented Side Effects

We were concerned about using Cholestyramine due to the long list of side effects on the pharmaceutical disclosure sheet. Common side effects listed included heartburn or indigestion, nausea or vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain; less common side effects such as belching, bloating, diarrhea, other gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, and headache; and rare side effects such as black, tarry stools, and severe stomach pain with nausea and vomiting.

Are you starting to wonder why Cholestyramine has so many possible side effects? Look no further than its basic functionality. Dr. Williams explains, “The primary function of cholestyramine is to absorb and excrete bile acids (cholesterol is a key component of bile acids). However, the drug also binds and inhibits the absorption of various fat-soluble vitamins like A, K, and D.”

The human body is not able to optimally function as intended without adequate levels of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, K, and D. Other possible side effects from use of Cholestyramine are night blindness, prolonged or unusual bleeding and bruising, increase in triglycerides, and osteoporosis, according to Dr. Williams.

Other Possible Side Effects

We were also concerned about the ramifications of taking Cholestyramine given that our first line of defense—our intestinal tracts—were not working properly. We had leaky gut syndrome, which is when the walls of the intestines are permeable and allow toxins such as mycotoxins to recirculate over and over again throughout the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Cholestyramine works by attaching to certain substances in the intestine. Since Cholestyramine is not absorbed into the body, these substances also pass out of the body without being absorbed.”

But what if someone has a leaky gut? Does the Cholestyramine attach to the toxic substances and then just recirculate throughout the body rather than being eliminated?

What about other possible side effects indicated by animal studies? The Mayo Clinic states, “In some animal studies, Cholestyramine was found to cause tumors. It is not known whether Cholestyramine causes tumors in humans.”

Limited in Treatment Scope

What most mold sufferers don’t realize about Cholestyramine is that it is limited in its treatment scope. According to Dr. Jack Thrasher, “Cholestyramine does not treat fungal-growth in the body.”

So even if Cholestyramine does reduce toxins in the body, it may only have a marginal impact on improving overall health, especially considering the lengthy list of potential side effects.

Natural Options Can Cure

When assessing the risk of any treatment option, we must weigh the risks against the potential benefit.  Since we had already suffered from having taken another pharmaceutical (antifungals), we chose not to try Cholestyramine until first exhausting natural treatment options with fewer possible side effects.

Fortunately for us, we never had to try Cholestyramine as our health was restored by the natural treatment plan we later outlined in our book, MOLD: The War Within. The further beauty of using natural treatment options is that they are relatively inexpensive and readily available should a mold re-exposure occur, which does happen because mold is everywhere.

Life is different after mold exposure but it can still be good. We are proof that recovery and quality of life are possible with natural means.

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