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What is Linzess (linaclotide)?
Linzess (linaclotide) is a prescription medication used to treat certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC).
Linzess belongs to the drug class, guanylate cyclase-C agonists. This medication works by increasing fluid secretion and muscle contraction in the intestine, which helps to relieve constipation and improve bowel movements.
What are the Indications for Linzess?
Linzess is primarily used to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). IBS-C is a condition that causes abdominal pain and discomfort, along with constipation and infrequent bowel movements. CIC, on the other hand, is a chronic condition characterized by difficulty passing stools, infrequent bowel movements, and abdominal discomfort.
Linzess is not recommended for use in children under the age of 2, if you have a bowel blockage, or if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.
How is Linzess used?
Linzess should be stored at room temperature between 68° – 77°F(20° – 25°) in a tightly closed container, away from light and moisture.
Keep out of reach of children and pets.
Linzess should be taken on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before the first meal of the day, as directed by your doctor. The capsule should be swallowed whole with water and should not be broken or chewed.
If you are unable to swallow the capsule, the capsule can be opened and poured into a mixture of applesauce or water for easier consumption. The mixture must be consumed right away. Do not mix and use at a later time.
If the medication needs to be administered through a feeding tube, the capsule can be opened and poured into a clean cup with 30 mL of water. Carefully mix the medication for 20 seconds and administer it with the use of a syringe. If there is any medication left over in the cup, an additional 30 mL of water can be added to the cup and administered with the syringe again. Flush the feeding tube with water.
Linzess is available in capsule form in the following strengths: 72 mcg, 145 mcg, and 290 mcg.
For irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), the recommended dose of Linzess is 290 mcg once daily.
For chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), the recommended dose is dependent on tolerance and can be either 72 mcg or 145 mcg once daily.
It’s important to understand that although this medication is FDA-approved, it comes with side effects that may or may not affect you.
Before starting, you should discuss possible side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.
Common Side Effects
Not all side effects require medical attention. As your body adjusts to Linzess, side effects may go away.
Tell your doctor if you experience the following symptoms, and they become severe or do not go away on their own:
- Abdominal pain
- Gas or bloating
Serious Side Effects
Severe adverse reactions while using Linzess can occur. Seek emergency medical care or call 911 if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe allergic reaction: severe rash or itching, swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat, rapid heartbeat, fainting or dizziness, or problems breathing or swallowing.
- Severe diarrhea
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Severe abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
The information above does not list all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any side effects not listed. You or your doctor may report side effects to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using Linzess, tell your doctor or pharmacist:
- If you are allergic to any medications
- If you have a bowel blockage
- If you are pregnant or expect to become pregnant
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
Children under the age of 2 years old should not take Linzess. Studies have shown taking it can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration which can cause severe consequences in patients under 2 years of age.
Do not take Linzess if you have bowel blockage or suspect you might have a bowel blockage. Taking it can increase the motility of the intestines, which can cause the blockage to become worse or even cause the bowel to rupture.
Pregnant or Planning to Become Pregnant
There is not enough data to determine if taking Linzess during pregnancy can harm your unborn child. If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking, speak with your doctor to determine if therapy of change is needed.
There is limited data that shows it does not pass into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding or considering breastfeeding while taking Linzess, talk to your doctor for the best course of action before taking.
Interactions & Contraindications
Before using, speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you take any medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins.
Taking it with food, especially high-fat food can result in diarrhea or more frequent diarrhea. It should not be taken with food and should be taken on an empty stomach.