Information About Lopid (Gemfibrozil)

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Lopid (gemfibrozil) a lipid-lowering medication that belongs to the fibrate class of drugs. Lopid is used to lower lipids – especially in cases of severely elevated triglyceride levels where the risk of developing pancreatitis is increased. Additionally, studies have shown that Lopid can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals who have primary dyslipidemia.

In one study, the incidence of coronary heart disease was lowered by 34% in individuals taking Lopid.

Studies have also shown that Lopid has the following effect on your lipid profile:

  • LDL cholesterol is lowered by an average of 25%
  • Total cholesterol levels are lowered by an average of 13%.
  • Triglycerides are lowered by up to about 50%.
  • HDL cholesterol levels are increased by an average of 13%.

Lopid was approved for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December of 1981.

How Does Lopid Work?

Lopid works by reducing the amount of triglycerides produced by the liver. The drug also appears to inhibit the synthesis and increase the clearance of apolipoprotein B, a carrier of VLDL. This will also lower VLDL levels in the body.

How Should Lopid be Taken?

Lopid should be taken by mouth, with one 600 mg tablet taken in the morning and one 600 mg tablet taken in the evening.  Lopid should be taken at least 30 minutes before meals.  Lopid should be taken along with a lipid-lowering diet.

Who Should Not Take Lopid?

If you have one of the medical conditions listed below, you should not take Lopid. In these cases, your healthcare provider may decide to place you on a different treatment to lower your lipids:

  • Allergy to Lopid. If you have had a previous allergy to Lopid or any of its components, you should not take Lopid.
  • Gallbladder disease.  If you have a history of gallbladder disease, you should not take this medication. In studies, individuals taking Lopid experienced a statistically significant increase in developing gallbladder disease, including gallstones, that required surgery.
  • Liver disease. Abnormal liver enzyme tests have been noted when taking Lopid. So if you have liver disease, including primary biliary cirrhosis, you should not take Lopid.
  • Kidney disease. Individuals with severe kidney disease should not take Lopid because it may worsen kidney function.
  • Taking Repaglinide. If you are taking the medication repaglinide for diabetes, taking Lopid with it could increase levels of repaglinide in your blood. Therefore, you should not take Lopid if you are already taking this medication.

Additionally, Lopid is a Pregnancy Category C. There have not been any substantial studies examining the effect of Lopid on your baby. However, some pregnant rabbit and rat studies have shown an increase in skeletal abnormalities and stillbirths when taking up to three times the human dose of Lopid.

Additionally, it is not known if Lopid is expressed in breast milk. Therefore, if you are pregnant or nursing, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking this medication. He or she will weigh the benefits to your health versus the possible risk to your unborn child.

What Types of Side Effects Will Lopid Cause?

The most common side effects experienced while taking Lopid include:

  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Atrial fibrillation

In studies, these side effects were only temporary and went away with continued treatment, f you are experiencing any side effects from Lopid, you should talk to your healthcare provider – especially if they become bothersome or do not go away.

Are There Any Medications that Could Interact with Lopid?

There are a few medications that could interact with Lopid. If you are taking one of these medications, your healthcare provider may decide to modify your dose or place you on a different medication to lower your lipid levels:

  • Anticoagulants. Taking anticoagulants, such as Coumadin (warfarin), with Lopid could cause you to bleed easier. Your healthcare provider will periodically monitor your medication and may adjust it as needed.
  • Statins. Taking a statin – in addition to Lopid – to lower your lipid levels may increase your risk of rhabdomyolysis. These medications can be given together because of their potential benefit on your heart health, but your healthcare provider will monitor your treatment to ensure that you are not experiencing any side effects from the combination.
  • Bile acid resins. Taking a bile acid resin could lower the amount of Lopid absorbed into the body, which may reduce its effectiveness. Your healthcare provider may have you take these two medications at different times of the day to prevent this interaction.

This is not a complete list. You should let your healthcare provider know of all medications that you are taking while taking Lopid. This will help your healthcare provider to monitor you for possible drug interactions while taking the medication. 

The Bottom Line

Lopid was the first fibrate approved for use in the United States. Lopid is primarily used to lower triglyceride levels, but may be coupled with a statin or bile acid resin in cases where LDL cholesterol needs to be lowered, too.  There isn’t much difference between Lopid and the more recently approved fibrate, Tricor. However, there appear to be fewer drug interactions with Tricor (fenofibrate) and there is a lower incidence of rhabdomyolysis associated with Tricor.


LOPID [package insert]. Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals: New York, NY, 9/2010

Micromedex 2.0.  Truven Health Analytics, Inc. Greenwood Village, CO.  Available at:  Accessed February 10, 2016

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