Bile Acid Binding Resins: Mechanism & Bile Acid Binders Medications

Question: What are bile acid binding resins? How are they able to lower cholesterol in the blood? How much of a drop in cholesterol can one expect to see?

Bile Acid Binder Resins Mechanism

Bile acid binding resins are cholesterol lowering drugs that are man made resins. They are gritty, insoluble granules which are available in the form of a bar that has to be chewed thoroughly or comes in the form of a powder and needs to be mixed with a liquid. These prevent re-absorption of cholesterol into the body when they bind with the cholesterol-rich bile acids secreted by the liver.

They are however passed out of the body in the stools. Because the drugs isolate bile acid they are often called bile acid sequestrants.

Bile Acid Binding Resins Medications

Everyday a known quantity of cholesterol comes into the intestine through the bile duct. Usually most of the cholesterol is reabsorbed into the blood stream and is circulated back to the liver. Bile cholesterol can be captured by binding-resins and convert it into a form which cannot be re-absorbed into the blood. And when the normal recycling of bile acid back to the liver is prevented, the cholesterol stored in the cells in the liver necessarily drop.

The cells now respond and try to draw in more cholesterol from the blood to make bile acid. This leads to a drop in both total and LDL cholesterol and a small increase in protective HDL cholesterol.

Both of the bile acid binding resins that are available cholestyramine (Questran, a powder) and colestipol (Cholybar, a chewable bar and Colestid, granules) are equally effective in lowering LDL cholesterol. People can expect a fifteen to twenty- five percent drop in LDL cholesterol when they take normal daily dose. It also depends on the initial levels before they start taking the drug.

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