BMA Concise Guide to Medicine & Drugs

Bezafibrate

Brand names Bezalip, Bezalip-Mono, Caberzol XL, Fibrazate (bezatard) XL

Used in the following combined preparations None

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Drug group Lipid-lowering drug

Overdose danger rating Low

Dependence rating Low

Prescription needed Yes

Available as generic Yes

GENERAL INFORMATION

Bezafibrate belongs to a group of drugs, usually called fibrates, that lower lipid levels in the blood. Fibrates are particularly effective in decreasing levels of triglycerides in the blood. They also reduce blood levels of cholesterol. Raised levels of lipids (fats) in the blood are associated with atherosclerosis (deposition of fat in blood vessel walls). This can lead to coronary heart disease (for example, angina and heart attacks) and cerebrovascular disease (for example, stroke). When bezafibrate is taken with a diet low in saturated fats, there is good evidence that the risk of coronary heart disease is reduced. Bezafibrate should not be used with statins (another group of lipid-lowering drugs) due to the increased risk of muscle damage.

INFORMATION FOR USERS

Your drug prescription is tailored for you. Do not alter dosage without checking with your doctor.

How taken/used Tablets.

Frequency and timing of doses 1–3 x daily with a little liquid after a meal.

Adult dosage range 400–600mg daily.

Onset of effect It may take weeks for blood fat levels to be reduced, and it takes months or years for fat deposits in the arteries to be reduced. Treatment should be withdrawn if no adequate response is obtained within 3–4 months.

Duration of action About 6–24 hours. This may vary according to the individual.

Diet advice A low-fat diet will have been recommended. Follow the advice of your doctor.

Storage Keep in original container at room temperature out of the reach of children.

Missed dose Take as soon as you remember. If your next dose is due within 4 hours (and you take it once daily), take a single dose now and skip the next. If you take 2–3 times daily, take the next dose as normal.

Stopping the drug Do not stop the drug without consulting your doctor.

Exceeding the dose An occasional unintentional extra dose is unlikely to be a cause for concern. But if you notice unusual symptoms, notify your doctor.

POSSIBLE ADVERSE EFFECTS

The most common adverse effects are those on the gastrointestinal tract, such as loss of appetite, nausea, and stomach pain. These effects normally diminish as treatment continues. Less commonly, dizziness or fatigue may occur; discuss with your doctor if these are severe. Rarely, there may be a rash, headache, or muscle pain, cramp, or weakness; if any of these occur, discuss with your doctor.

INTERACTIONS

Anticoagulants Bezafibrate may increase the effect of anticoagulants such as warfarin. Your anticoagulant dose will be reduced when starting bezafibrate.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) There is a risk of liver damage when bezafibrate is taken with an MAOI.

Antidiabetic drugs These may interact with bezafibrate to lower blood sugar.

Simvastatin and other lipid-lowering drugs whose names end in “statin” There is an increased risk of muscle damage if bezafibrate is taken with these drugs.

Ciclosporin This may interact with bezafibrate to impair kidney function. Bezafibrate may also raise blood levels of ciclosporin.

SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS

Be sure to tell your doctor if:

· You have long-term liver or kidney problems.

· You have a history of gallbladder disease.

· You are taking other medicines.

Pregnancy Safety in pregnancy not established. Discuss with your doctor.

Breast-feeding The drug may pass into the breast milk and may affect the baby. Discuss with your doctor.

Infants and children Not usually prescribed.

Over 60 No special problems expected.

Driving and hazardous work Avoid such activities until you have learned how bezafibrate affects you because the drug can cause dizziness.

Alcohol No special problems.

PROLONGED USE

No problems expected, but patients with kidney disease will need special care as there is a high risk of muscle problems developing.

Monitoring Blood tests will be performed occasionally to monitor the effect of the drug on lipids in the blood.