Bezafibrate

Sounds like 'Be-za-fy-brate'

Easy-to-read medicine information about bezafibrate – what is it, how to take bezafibrate safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Medicine to lower cholesterol
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as fibrates
  • Bezalip®
  • Bezalip Retard®

What is bezafibrate?

  • Bezafibrate is used to lower cholesterol (fat) levels in your blood. When excess cholesterol collects in the walls of your blood vessels, it increases your chance of having a heart attack, or stroke. Lowering cholesterol reduces your risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
  • It is usually used in combination with a statin in people with high triglyceride levels or low HDL-cholesterol levels, or it is prescribed when statins cannot be used to lower cholesterol (read more about cholesterol testing).  
  • Bezafibrate is available as normal-release tablets (Bezalip®) or modified-release tablets (Bezalip Retard®).

Dose

  • Your dose of bezafibrate will depend on whether you have been prescribed the normal-release tablets (Bezalip®) or the modified-release tablets (Bezalip Retard®). 
  • The usual dose of Bezalip® is 200 milligrams three times daily, and the usual dose of Bezalip Retard® is 400 milligrams once daily.   
  • Always take your bezafibrate exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much bezafibrate to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

How to take bezafibrate

  • Swallow your bezafibrate tablets with a glass of water.
  • Take bezafibrate at around the same times each day. If you have been prescribed Bezalip®, this is taken 2 or 3 times daily, and Bezalip Retard® is taken once daily.  
  • Bezafibrate is best taken with or after food. 
  • If you have been given modified-release tablets (Bezalip Retard®), it is important that you swallow the tablets whole — do not chew, crush, or break them.
  • To reduce your cholesterol, you must keep taking bezafibrate every day.  
  • If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, bezafibrate can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Stomach upset
  • Bloating or gas in the tummy
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Headache
  • These are quite common when you first start taking bezafibrate, and usually go away with time
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Signs of problems with your liver such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pain in the abdomen
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Signs of problems with your muscles such as muscle aches and pain, pain in your legs, muscle cramps, tenderness or weakness
  • These symptoms are more likely if you are using bezafibrate with a statin 
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Interactions

Bezafibrate may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on bezafibrate.
Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets:

Bezalip
Bezalip Retard

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 21 Oct 2015