The People's Perspective on Medicine



Lopid is prescribed primarily to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Heart specialists recognize that coronary artery disease is associated with certain risk factors, including high serum cholesterol, bad LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and reduced levels of protective HDL cholesterol.

Diet, exercise and weight control are usually considered important first-line preventive approaches. When they are insufficient, drugs like Lopid may be important in reducing the risk of heart disease. It increases HDL cholesterol while lowering triglycerides and certain other negative blood fats.

A well-controlled study from Helsinki, Finland revealed that this medication appears to lower the risk of heart attacks by about one third.

Side Effects and Interactions of Lopid (gemfibrozil)

The most common side effects of this drug are digestive tract problems: heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and flatulence. Other possible adverse reactions include skin rash, itching, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, muscle or joint pain or unusual sore throat and fever. Notify your physician promptly of any symptoms.

Lopid can interact dangerously with cholesterol-lowering drugs like Mevacor, Pravachol or Zocor. Such a combination of cholesterol-lowering drugs could trigger destruction of muscle tissue, resulting in muscle pain, weakness and ultimately kidney damage.

If your doctor decides both drugs are necessary, close monitoring of kidney function is essential.

The herb goldenseal may raise cholesterol levels and should not be combined with cholesterol-lowering medications such as Lopid.

Special Precautions with Lopid (gemfibrozil)

Anyone with kidney or liver problems should probably not take Lopid. This medicine must also be used with great caution by anyone with gallstones or gallbladder disease, as it may precipitate or aggravate problems. Tests for liver function and blood sugar should be carried out periodically.

Women who are pregnant should also avoid it as animal studies have shown an increased risk of damage to the fetus.

Research on animals has also linked it to liver and testicular tumors, but only at relatively high doses. Whether there is a risk for humans remains to be determined.

Taking the Medicine

The manufacturer recommends that people take Lopid half an hour before breakfast and supper. If you feel dizzy or your vision becomes blurred, do not drive.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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This drug gemfibrozil destroyed my life.
It ruptured my tendons first, and I could not walk for months. Had the most extreme pain you can imagine. A day did not go by without me considering ending my own life to stop the pain.

It also caused me to have a fatty enlarged liver. It also caused me to have gallstones, and I will be having surgery to remove my gallbladder now. It also caused me to have cancerous polyps in my colon. And those are just the serious side effects.Minor side effects include, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, and fainting.

I was on this poison for 5 months, and it destroyed my life. I was active, energetic and loved life.
Now I am in so much constant pain, I feel as if I am waiting for death. And I contemplate suicide daily as a way to escape the physical pain. By the way, I didn’t even need to be on this drug. With some diet changes I managed to lower my triglycerides to normal levels; after getting off the drug.

Be careful of this drug. It is poison. I can only imagine what else it has done to my body that I am not yet aware of yet.

I just took a blood test and found out my triglyceride levels are through the roof. They are at 1100, and my cholesterol is at 249. It freaked me out, so I starting researching. I took my test non-fasting and saw that to have a correct blood test you need to be fasting for 10 hours before blood test. I am not a doctor so I have no clue if this is true. I also see that certain foods will cause a spike in your triglycerides. I took this blood test right after I ate my lunch. My doctor decided to put me on the Lipitor, so after reading what everyone is writing it’s really freaking me out. I guess after a couple of months I will come back and write a review on this drug. I hope just it isn’t as bad as everyone is writing.

I’ve just read a bunch of these comments, and I’ve just started taking Gemfibrozil. I hope to God I don’t get any of those side effects. I just want my triglycerides to go down. All I can do is pray, I guess. Y’all have a blessed day.

I started taking gemfibrozil a month a a half ago. After a week or so, I noticed my right arm was starting to ache. Then it started tingling and going numb. I was frightened! I couldn’t sleep at night and had to use ibuprofen and ice packs to get relief. It finally occurred to me that these terrible symptoms could be related to gemfibrozil. (I had a reaction from a similar medication taken 15 years ago. That time it was horrible leg aches). I stopped taking gemfibrozil and each day I saw a decrease in symptoms. A week later, I’m completely back to normal! Never again will I take such a drug.

I have been taking gemfibrozil 600mg twice a day from 2000 to about 2 months ago. Prescribed after having a stroke and then determining I had an ejection factor of about 19. At the time my triglycerides were at 750 and my cholesterol at about 250.

After a short time my lower legs began to itch severely they became red (later almost black) and swollen. I was told at the time this was caused by my poor heart function and some of my medications that did not circulate well and would settle in my lower legs. The only medications offered were creams ,steroid for a while then just heavy creams. I had biopsies done and that showed that I did not have an allergic reaction to any of the meds but still my legs slowly became worse.

This year psoriasis started to develop around my knees and was expanding quickly upward. I asked my cardiologist if any of the meds I was on may be the problem he said he didn’t think so but if I was to try not taking one he thought Gemfibrolzil would be where to start. He suggested 2 weeks but after serious success with the first 2 I have now been without for 2 months.

The psoriasis stopped my legs now have mostly normal color the itching has all but gone where I had dry flaking skin from my ankles to my knees is about 25 percent of what it was and seems to be getting better still. I see my doctor in about a week and will be looking for something to replace the Gemfibrolzil with that doesn’t cause such a bad reaction.

I started taking Gemfibrozil 600 BID. 1 month ago. I can’t take statins they caused me bloating, leg pain and ED. The Gemfibrozil has caused me some fatigue, but no ED and is actually causing better function. Cholesterol is 309 Tri’s are 498. We will see what the numbers are in a few months.

The dr took my mom off I just got off of gemfibrozil, and now she has constant diahrea. Cant seem to get in check!

I just got off of gemfibrozil, because of constant stomach aches, constipation, etc. I have not had a normal day since I have been taking it. I have been off for 3 days and have the worst diarrhea ever. Will it ever stop? Dr. said, it isn’t a normal reaction.

Hi. My doc put me on Lopid for high triglycerides (300). High LDL, Low HDL. After 2 mos. developed gallbladder attacks — I had never had them before. In reseach, I see that this can be a side-effect. Should I go off this med.? Will I be able to take another fibrizol (sp)? drug? I really am against being on any statins.

I began taking lopid in February. Came down with flu and two weeks later developed another infection. Then I started feeling intensely tired, sleeping most of day and night. At first I thought I had mono. Went to Dr. and he did blood work and was not concerned about anything. Then my blood pressure went low, the Dr. told me to hold it and monitor my blood pressure. My legs were hurting so bad I could hardly stand it. Then in June my blood pressure went out the roof, I became disoriented and confused for 48 hrs. Went to ER and was sent home still having difficulty remembering recent happenings. Finally went to another Doctor, was told that I was having severe side effects to lopid. Finally after two weeks I am feeling stronger and my mental status has returned to normal. I say this drug should be used with great caution. I almost died and I do believe it was the lopid.

I am a 52 yrs. old. Had a physical exam recently. The only problem was high triglyceride, at 483. Now taking Gemfribrozil 600mg after. I was in good health and no back problems. Sex drive high. After 2 weeks of taking these meds I have back spasms, no sex yet, extreme fatigue, can”t sleep or work at my job for more than an hour without dizzyness and tiredness. The side effects are the worst I have ever experienced.

I exercise more and have a better diet than before. I am going to my doctor’s office and discuss any other way to fight high triglycerides.

I am a 52 yrs. Old . Took a physical exam recently. Only high Tri”s were 483. Taking now Gemfribrozil 600mg after. I was in good health and no back problems. Sex drive high. After 2 weeks of taking these meds i have back spasm, No sex yet , extreme fatigue , can”t sleep or work at my job for more than a hour without dizzyness and tiredness risen. I decided to stop taking Gemfribrozil 600mg after a month and now after 3 days I am slowly returning to full strength and sex drive is back . Yeah !! All bad side effects the worst i ever experience. I exercise more and have a better diet.

I have been taking Gemfibrozil for about 5 months now. My numbers have dropped considerably by my 3 month check up. I am starting to show signs of numbness and tingly in my feet about 3 to 4 weeks ago and the last few day going into my arms and hands. It is getting worse daily and I am very concerned about it. Is this normal and will it ease up on its own? It is keeping me up at night so now sleep deprived. I’m concerned that it will cause permanent damage if I continue to use, or if I should stop taking and make an appointment to see my physician as soon as I can. Please advise me…

My father died in 1986 of a brain stem stroke due to Triglycerides that were well over 600.
He laid in the ICU for a month with no brain activity to speak of. We took him off the ventilator and let him go. At that time I was 22 years young and my brother was 26. The doctors that oversaw my dad informed my brother and I to watch our Tri count as we aged. Sure enough, my liver produces large amounts of Tri’s on a regular basis regardless of diet.
I have been on Tricor, Symvastatin and Zocor to little or no success.
I am wondering if anyone can relate to my story and has been taking Gemfib.
I prefer to not take any statins but I don’t think my DNA will allow me not to. I exercise with weights and cardio, eat pretty well only to have my Tri’s be over 500. My Cholesterol is 309.
Can anyone tell me of a success with this condition on this drug? Thanks

As an FYI, high triglycerides are caused by excess carbohydrate consumption. I eat a low carb, high fat diet and my tri’s are 80. BTW, my HDL is 75, HS-CRP is .7 and most of my LDL is the good, big, fluffy type…all fantastic numbers. These drugs can be dangerous (having destroyed the health and quality of life of my father, brother, and step-father) and are unnecessary. Just get rid of the carbs including grains, sugars, fake sugars, etc.

Began Gemfibrozil a few months ago due to higher than normal triglycerides. About 2 weeks into taking it, I began to notice that my quads (upper leg muscles), began to feel very fatigued and moderately sore as if I had run a marathon.
My strength was noticeably weaker as well. I had the same problem occur with Simvistatin except that, along with leg pain, I also felt as if the entire Earth had doubled in gravity. EVERYTHING was heavier, I felt like I weighed twice as much as my normal weight. Got to the point where I could hardly ride my bicycle, because when coming to stops I would fall over because my legs simply wouldn’t hold me and the bike up. I will probably go back to my natural supplement (Niacin)to help me with my cholesterol troubles. I will also research other possible supplements that may help me with this problem.

Thank you , how did the medication effect them? I just started to take Gemfibrozil…. I I don’t like it…

Well, there are no REPUTABLE studies that show a relationship between cholesterol and heart disease in my opinion. I have researched multiple databases, including PubMed (from the National Library of Medicine at NIH), and with years of work, never been able to find such a correlation. The exceptions are studies by the major pharmaceutical houses, who have multiple billions of dollars invested in this cholesterol nonsense.

Just started taking gemfibrozil 600 mg for vary high triglycerides I have been a heaver drinker I have been taking zocor do I need to be taking this med? would like more info.

I took Gemfibrozil for years to control my Triglicerides. Decreased my Tri’s from 687 to 169. Decreased Cholesterol from 387 to 188. Then recently a new Dr. took me off of it and put me on a new drug. Now my tests show Tri’s are up to 320 & Cholesterol has risen to 226. Plus, my sugar levels have jumped way up. I insisted he put me back on Gemfibrozil. He’ll test me in 3 months and we’ll see if there is an improvement. Bet there will be.
I’ve never had any aches and pains caused from this medicine. I do however, have aches and pains from Arimidex. (That’s a medicine taken for breast cancer.)

I have been taking gemfibrozil for 3 months now, the first half of the month everything seemed fine then I started developing a burning sensation when I pee that wasn’t so bad so the second month it got worse. I had a sever bladder infection my doc gave me antibiotics for the infection but it doesn’t seem to be helping and now my muscles ache and my joints ache worse than before I feel overly tired all the time my lower right side of my back hurts and my lower right side of my stomach hurts I have some discomfort in my lower left side of my back also.
Although I do have degenerative bone disease and my back and neck hurts anyway this is a different kind of pain added to my normal pains and within the last few days I have started having headaches. I can’t take statin meds because lovistatin made my muscles and joints hurt severely my legs would cramp up so bad in the night when I was sleeping I would wake up screaming and couldn’t get out of bed. Should I stop this med now or wait to see my doc again?

I have been on Gemfibrozil for the last five weeks. I have developed right leg knee joint pain for the last two weeks. I am trying to find out any connection between the medication and the pain.

I started on gemfibrozil after my hysterectomy in 1995, hormones went wild and before the 5-6 wks off from work, I was being asked how could I have gained so much weight & in such little time. My cholesterol in 300 range & triglycerides 603. Have been on statins off & on for so long. I had so much muscle aches and then came the high liver enzymes and fatty tissue around it.
Started on gemfibrozil again 2 months ago and Dr. raised mg from 500 to 600. I have had so much muscle pain and even showering and water hitting my shoulders is causing so much pain. I am waiting for insurance to approve MRI on severe left chest and shoulder pain with numbness & tingling from elbow to end of fingers. As I write this I have talked myself into stopping this medication once again.
I truly now believe that after 2 months of this statin, my aches and pains are from this medication plus I seem to be forgetting more things. I am 60 yrs. old, 5″2″, & 135 lbs. I am constantly on the go, work part time as a realtor & more time babysitting young grand kids.
I get plenty of exercise, have a great sex life but I find myself getting tired more easily. I can’t believe this could all be from hitting ripe age of 60.??? Cholesterol now is 245 and tri 380. I also take fish, omega, vitamin B, biotin, & other vitamins when I remember…

have taken 600mg Gemfibrozil for 20 years plus lisinopril. Dr. stopped Gemfibrozil 2 weeks ago and now the blood pressure is up and I can’t get it down to where it was with the Gemfibrozil. Is there any connection? This is the only change in my life style recently.

Taking Gemfibrozil since May 2008,300 mg daily. Some joint stiffness. Sept 2008 600 mg daily, joint pain in ankles & knees especially. Nov 08, stopped Gemfibrozil, pain went away. January 2009 started Gemfibrozil 600 mg daily, immediately joint pain,
I see my Doc. tomorrow.

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