Tricor (Fenofibrate) – Oral

What Is TriCor?

TriCor (fenofibrate) is an oral prescription medicine used to help treat high cholesterol or high triglyceride levels, which are types of fat in the blood. TriCor can improve the quality of life for adults who struggle with unhealthy diets and heart issues (e.g., high cholesterol or coronary artery disease).

This medication is often used as an additional therapy to typical cholesterol-lowering medications to prevent further heart disease, such as heart attack. It works specifically by reducing the bad cholesterol in your body while increasing the good cholesterol that helps keep you healthy.

Fenofibrate is available in tablet for capsule form.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Fenofibrate

Brand Name(s): Antara, Fenoglide, Lofibra, TriCor, Triglide

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Antihyperlipidemic

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Oral

Active Ingredient: Fenofibrate

Dosage Form(s): Tablet, capsule

What Is TriCor Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TriCor for use along with a healthy diet to:

This medication can be used in addition to other cholesterol-lowering medications called statins. These medications typically end in “-statin” and can include:

  • Lipitor (atorvastatin)
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin)
  • Zocor (simvastatin)

TriCor responds best with a proper, healthy diet that restricts cholesterol and fat intake. A tolerated exercise regimen as approved by your healthcare provider can also help reduce your cholesterol levels and minimize fat deposits from clogging your arteries, which may lead to heart issues.

Tricor (Fenofibrate) Drug Information - Illustration by Zoe Hansen

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take TriCor

If you are already placed on a low-fat diet, it is best to continue this diet while taking your medication as prescribed.

TriCor can be taken with or without food. Adults need to take this medication for at least two to three months before determining its full effects. Only take it once daily at your recommended dose. It is always best to speak with your healthcare provider, whether it’s your prescribing clinician or pharmacist, about how to properly take your medication.

Storage

TriCor can be stored at room temperature, about 77 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If you are traveling with your medication or have it with you on a short trip, you can keep TriCor at temperatures ranging from 59 degrees to 86 degrees. Keep this medication in a cool and dry place away from the reach of any pets or children.

Off-Label Uses

The FDA approved fibrates such as TriCor for lowering cholesterol in adults with a history of high cholesterol. However, recent research has found that the use of fibrates can be helpful in some liver diseases, such as primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). PBC is a disease in which the body unknowingly attacks the liver due to environmental factors or a genetic response.

However, studies have only shown clinical benefit for this condition when using fibrate therapy combined with the initial treatment for PBC, a medication called ursodiol. TriCor is not proven to treat PBC when used as a single therapy effectively.

How Long Does TriCor Take to Work?

TriCor may take up to six to eight hours after taking it to be detected in the blood. After multiple doses, a steady amount of this medication will be present in the body within a few days. A healthcare provider will evaluate the full benefits of this medication with blood tests within two to three months after starting.

What Are the Side Effects of TriCor?

All drugs may have side effects associated with their use. You may not experience any side effects when taking a drug.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of TriCor are:

  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flu-like symptoms

Severe Side Effects

Even though some of these side effects may be rare, please contact your healthcare provider immediately or seek medical attention if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms below:

  • Signs of allergic reactions that cause you to have trouble breathing or red, swollen skin rashes 
  • Elevated liver enzymes with signs of dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes
  • Very bad muscle pain, especially if you feel very tired or weak, have a fever, or are unable to urinate 
  • Gallstones, with symptoms of sudden pain in the upper right abdomen, right shoulder area, or between the shoulder blades; yellow skin or eyes; or fever with chills
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), with symptoms of severe stomach pain, back pain, and upset stomach or throwing up

Long-Term Side Effects

Some of the severe side effects may take time to manifest. It is best to speak with a healthcare provider regarding some of these signs as you may require further testing to identify. Your provider may need to change your dose or medication.

Report Side Effects

TriCor may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much TriCor Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (capsules):
    • For high cholesterol:
      • Adults—
        • Antara®: At first, 130 milligrams (mg) once a day with a meal. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
        • Lipofen®: At first, 150 mg once a day with a meal. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
        • Lofibra™: 200 mg once a day with a meal.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For severe hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides or fats):
      • Adults—
        • Antara®: At first, 43 to 130 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 130 mg per day.
        • Lipofen®: At first, 50 to 150 mg once a day with a meal. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 150 mg per day.
        • Lofibra™: At first, 67 mg once a day with a meal. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For oral dosage form (tablets):
    • For high cholesterol:
      • Adults—
        • Fenoglide®: At first, 120 milligrams (mg) per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
        • Tricor®: At first, 160 mg once a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
        • Triglide®: 160 mg once a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For high triglycerides or fats:
      • Adults—
        • Fenoglide®: At first, 40 to 120 milligrams (mg) per day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 120 mg per day.
        • Tricor®: At first, 54 to 160 mg once a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
        • Triglide®: 160 mg once a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Treatment modifications or dosage adjustments may be required in certain situations, such as in:

  • Pregnancy
  • Older adults (65 years and older)
  • Kidney impairment

Pregnancy

Women may experience high levels of cholesterol during pregnancy. Fenofibrate should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits are higher than the risks to the fetus. 

Older Adults

This medication is considered safe and effective for use by the older population, generally those in the age group of 65 years and older. However, your healthcare provider may monitor your dose carefully, especially if you have kidney issues.

Kidney Problems

If you or a family member has kidney problems, then it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before taking this medication. A lower dose may be necessary for people with mild to moderate kidney impairment.

Missed Dose

If you forget to take a dose of your TriCor, take the next dose at the usual time and in the usual amount. Do not take more than the prescribed amount.  It is not advised to discontinue your medication regimen without consulting your provider. Your condition may worsen without your medication.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much TriCor?

If you take more TriCor than prescribed while at home, immediately contact your healthcare provider for the next steps. If you are unsure how much or when you or a household member overdosed on the medication, go to the emergency room and seek medical attention right away.

What Happens If I Overdose on TriCor?

If you think someone may have overdosed on TriCor, contact a healthcare provider or Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.

If a person has collapsed or is not breathing after a suspected overdose, call 911.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly to lower your cholesterol and triglyceride (fat) levels and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Call your doctor right away if you have a headache, stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, loss of appetite, weight loss, general feeling of tiredness or weakness, light-colored stools, upper right stomach pain, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of liver problems.

Check with your doctor right away if you have unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially if you also have unusual tiredness or fever. These could be symptoms of a serious muscle problem called myopathy.

Check with your doctor right away if you have dark urine, diarrhea, fever, muscle cramps or spasms, muscle pain or stiffness, or feel very tired or weak. These could be symptoms of a serious muscle problem called rhabdomyolysis, which can cause kidney problems.

Pancreatitis may occur while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you have bloating, sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, diarrhea, fast heartbeat, fever, indigestion. loss of appetite, nausea, pains in stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back, vomiting.

This medicine may increase your risk of having gallstones. Check with your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain, especially after eating, with nausea and vomiting.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and angioedema, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after using this medicine.

Serious skin reactions, including Steven-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, chest pain, chills, cough, diarrhea, itching, joint or muscle pain, painful or difficult urination, rash, red skin lesions, often with a purple center, sore throat, sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

This medicine may lower the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take TriCor?

You should avoid TriCor if you have/are: 

  • Breastfeeding
  • Allergic to fenofibrate or any of TriCor’s other ingredients
  • Active liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Gallbladder disease
  • History of skeletal muscle problems

What Other Medications Interact With TriCor?

Your healthcare provider may prescribe other medications that have similar actions to fenofibrate in protecting your heart and arteries. However, some therapies may need to be modified if certain medications are given at the same time.

Some medications that may need to be changed or avoided when taking TriCor include:

  • Bile acid sequestrants, such as Prevalite (cholestyramine), Colestid (colestipol), and Welchol (colesevelam): These medications can cause less absorption of TriCor in the stomach.
  • Immunosuppressants such as non-topical cyclosporine: Increases the risk of kidney issues when taken with TriCor
  • Vitamin K antagonists, such as Coumadin or Jantoven (warfarin) and Dindevan or Fenindion (phenindione): TriCor will increase the effects of this drug.

What Medications Are Similar?

TriCor belongs to a class of medications called fibrates. These medications should not be used together, as combined use can cause severe muscle damage.

Other fibrate medications similar to TriCor include:

  • Ciprofibrate
  • Bezafibrate
  • Lopid (gemfibrozil)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is TriCor used for?

    TriCor treats high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and the overaccumulation of fatty acids that are present in the blood due to poor diet. This medication is often used as an additional therapy to typical cholesterol-lowering medications to prevent further heart disease, such as heart attack.

  • How does TriCor work?

    TriCor works specifically by reducing LDL (considered bad) cholesterol in your body while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol that helps keep you healthy. With a healthy diet, this medication can maintain a reduced and balanced level of cholesterol levels for adults with life-threatening levels of high cholesterol or total triglycerides (the major form of fat in the body).

  • What drugs should not be taken with TriCor?

    TriCor should not be taken together with other fibrates. Tell your healthcare provider if you were previously taking warfarin or any other vitamin K inhibitor before taking TriCor. Your medications may need to be adjusted.

  • How long does it take for TriCor to work?

    How long TriCor will take to work depends on the individual and the severity of their condition. 

    However, if you have been taking TriCor for more than two to three months without missing doses, contact your healthcare provider for a reassessment so they can either increase your dose or prescribe you a different medication altogether to help lower your cholesterol levels.

  • How do I stop taking TriCor?

    If you have severe high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, do not stop taking your TriCor abruptly without talking to your healthcare provider. Contact your provider right away if you have signs of severe muscle damage. You may need to stop taking the medication in this case.

  • When is the best time to take my TriCor?

    TriCor should be taken daily to help lower your cholesterol throughout the day. You may take your medication in the morning or the afternoon, depending on when you begin your day.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking TriCor?

If you have been prescribed TriCor, this means you have high cholesterol or triglycerides in your body. In addition to taking your medication as prescribed, there are other steps you can take to stay healthy.

For example, a healthier diet can be beneficial for your condition. Try to avoid foods high in fat and grease, such as fast food, as this may counteract the effects of your medication. Cut down on foods with cholesterol in them, such as:

  • Meats
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Cheese

The best way to stay healthy while taking TriCor is to eat fruits (but not too many if you have diabetes), vegetables, or grains such as oatmeal. These foods do not contain cholesterol. If you are still experiencing high levels of cholesterol, start a light or moderate exercise program as permitted by your healthcare provider.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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3 Sources
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  2. Food and Drug Administration. Tricor label.

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