The most common side effects of fibrates are digestive symptoms. These occur in about 5 out of 100 people taking fibrates. Symptoms include an upset stomach, nausea, and abdominal pain.
Serious side effects can also occur. These usually arise after people have been taking fibrates for a long time. Some serious effects due to fibrates include:
- Gallstones: In one study, about 7 people out of 100 taking fibrates got gallstones. Some even needed their gallbladder removed. In the same study, 5 out of 100 people got gallstones when they were taking a placebo. This is a pill with no medicine in it. This suggests that fibrates did not cause the gallstones for all the people taking them. Still, if you have gallbladder disease, your doctor may not have you take fibrates.
- Inflamed pancreas: This only happens in less than 1 out of 100 people taking fibrates.
- Abnormal liver function tests: As many as 1 out of 5 people taking fibrates have a rise in their liver enzymes on a blood test. These high levels often go back to normal over time. Less than 5 out of 100 people have levels high enough that they must stop taking the medicine. Your doctor may check your liver enzymes when you first start taking fibrates to see how you react to them.
- Muscle damage: This occurs in less than 1 out of 100 people taking fibrates. It is more likely when people take statins at the same time as fibrates.
- Allergic reaction: This rarely occurs with fibrates. Call your doctor right away if you have difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or mouth, or hives
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take before starting any new medicine. If you notice any symptoms after starting fibrates, tell your doctor right away.
Side effects may be few, but tell your doctor if they happen to you!