Constipation and IBS, acronym for Irritable Bowel Syndrome impact lives of affected individuals in many ways. In addition to the health-related issues and discomfort, the conditions disrupt routines. Typically, every day of healthy individuals begins with routine passing of stools and cleansing; and individuals suffering from constipation/IBS or other related conditions, find that routines are upended. Various treatment options help manage the condition effectively, and depending on the type of treatment, outcomes are experienced. Options include the use of laxatives, stool softeners and suppositories. Here is detailed information about the possible undesirable effects, that will help users to avoid or prevent side effects of linzess in patients grappling with constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Difference between Linzess and laxatives  

Often, individuals tend to refer to stool softeners and laxatives interchangeably, considering the common outcome. However, both treatment options are different, and intended to help treat the same condition in a different manner. Laxatives work by facilitating bowel movements, and consequently, this results in the individuals’ passing stools, overcoming the effects of constipation. This is in contrast with stool softeners that work by softening the stool and making the stool moist, thereby helping the movement of the stools. While the outcome may be the same, the mechanism of action of laxatives and stool softeners are entirely different and it is therefore necessary to use the right product to handle different conditions.

Overview of Linzess and its mechanism of action

The mechanism of action of Linzess involves an increase in the levels of cGMP. This results in boosting the secretion of chloride and bicarbonate, which is responsible for the soothing effect and reduced pain. Another outcome of the mechanism of action is a decrease in pain stimuli, attributed to the reduction in activity of the nerves and the increase in extracellular cGMP. Linzess is a guanylate cyclase-C agonist stool softener and contains the 14 amino acids that make it work effectively. The increase in intestinal fluid, softens the stool and makes it easier for the individual to pass motion, without discomfort or pain. As outlined earlier, stool softeners are intended to help individuals with various health conditions that result in hardened stools. One of the reasons for constipation is the body’s inability to soften the stool adequately that will help motility. By softening the stools, this problem is overcome, offering significant relief to the patient.

Specific instructions for patients who take Linzess

The oral formulation is to be taken on an empty stomach and not with food. The effectiveness of the medication will be experienced only when it is taken on an empty stomach. There needs to be a clear gap of at least 30 minutes between the medication and food, to help the mechanism of action to work effectively.

Gastrointestinal intolerance is a possibility if the medication is taken along with food. This may then complicate the health condition of the patient further. By following recommendations, any possible complication may be avoided, and this will help put patients on the road to faster recovery.

Benefits or conditions treated with the stool softener

Before we look at the side effects of linzess here is quick look at the conditions that are treated effectively with the stool softener. Linzess, as mentioned above only helps treat constipation, and it is pertinent to make a clear distinction between constipation and IBS. Constipation is one of the conditions experienced as a result of IBS, and when Linzess offers relief from the symptom, most individuals are likely to wrongly assume that the underlying condition of IBS is also healing. This is wrong, and it is necessary to continue treatment for IBS. The secretion of chloride and water in the intestines helps to smoothen motility and eliminate discomfort in patients with chronic constipation.

Dosage related information

Undesirable effects are attributed to various reasons, including incorrect dosage. This is especially true when OTC products are consumed, as patients tend to disregard the need for proper dosage and schedule. Here is a detailed look at the recommended dosages:

Patients with constipation attributed to Irritable Bowel Syndrome – 290 mcg every day

Patients with idiopathic constipation – 72 mcg or 145 mcg every day

Dosage for children above two years – as per assessment of specialist

Dosage for children below two years – not to be given to children below two.

Consumption recommendations

The following recommendations are to be followed when on Linzess to receive the desired outcomes or best results:

Double dosage or missed dosage

Scheduled dosages may sometimes be missed by patients, especially when it is taken on a long-term basis. In such circumstances, it is necessary to avoid the urge to take a double dose to make up for the missed dose. As the stool softener is recommended to be taken daily in the morning on an empty stomach, it clearly means that there should be a gap of 24 hours between two dosages. It is best to avoid the urge to take Linzess after a meal, in the event of the individual forgetting the need to consume on an empty stomach.

The dosage recommendations mentioned above are mainly for the purpose of reference and to help individuals understand typical or safe limits. However, the actual dosage may depend on various factors including the age of the patient, and the specific condition being treated. Additionally, it is also important to consider other medications or comorbidities of the patient when determining the actual dosage. Other medications may interact with the stool softener and this is to be carefully considered before determining the dosage and the schedule of other medications. For instance, it may be necessary to stagger the timing of other medications to ensure that there are no interactions.

Note of caution for pregnant women

While studies have been carried out on the efficacy and the possibility of side effects of the stool softener, there is inadequate data on the effects of Linzess on pregnant women or women with suckling infants. For instance, in the absence of studies or documented reports of effects, it is likely that there could be some future effects on the new born, or there could be effects as a result of breast milk absorbing undesirable effects of the stool softener. Though it is highly unlikely that there may be serious effects or outcomes, it is important to exercise caution and prevent any possible unwanted effects.

Compilation of side effects of linzess

Medications, without exception come with the possibility of undesirable effects. These effects may not be the same for all users, with some experiencing mild effects, others experiencing possibly stronger effects, while some may not experience any effects whatsoever. The following compilation lists out the commonly reported effects of Linzess.

Mild/moderate effects

The commonly reported mild/moderate effects of the stool softener include flatulence or a full feeling.  This may typically be experienced when linzess is taken initially, and is most likely to resolve quickly, without the need for any specific medication or action. This is attributed to the formation of gas in the stomach. In certain instances, there is the possibility of patients experiencing diarrhea, which may also have a short duration. In both instances, there is the likelihood of individuals experiencing pain in the stomach. In instances, when the effects are either persistent or intense, it is safe to seek medical advice to mitigate the discomfort.

Strong effects

There is the possibility of individuals experiencing strong effects, especially when the diarrhea is intense. Dizzy feelings may be experienced and this may have a cascading effect on the routines and responsibilities of patients. For instance, individuals in responsibilities where it is necessary to stay alert or to have faster reflexes, may find it difficult to work efficiently.

Other effects that may be disruptive in nature, include the urge to frequently urinate as a result of increased intestinal fluid secretion. This could also result in patients feeling thirsty more frequently or abnormally. In addition to this, there is also the likelihood of patients ending up with cramps or an impact on stature/movements. Elderly patients who require assistance for routine actions may need to be monitored, as this could cause possible falls among patients.

Serious effects that are a cause for concern

Effects of the medication can also be serious in nature, that could possibly aggravate into a medical emergency. For instance, there is the likelihood of patients experiencing change in heart beat rate or rhythm, and this may make it necessary to seek treatment on priority. Other effects include experiencing a flutter in the chest, a lightness; this is a cause for concern and needs to be addressed in a healthcare facility by specialists.

Individuals with a history of allergies to the product, or ingredients in the product are advised to look at alternate options. Similarly, it is also advisable to start off with a test dose to check if there are any effects or allergies from the product.  This will prevent any manifestation later that may aggravate quickly.

Unsuitability of the stool softener for certain users

The stool softener, despite being a relatively safe product with a simple mechanism of action, is not safe for all users. For instance, patients with lung ailments, renal impairment, stomach/intestine blockage are not to take the product. It is also important for patients on other medications to understand all about interactions before commencing treatment. Certain medications may interact due to the conflicting mechanisms of action. A common example is that of Pramlintide – the diabetic medication that could trigger undesirable effects in patients, when combined with the stool softener. Other examples include that of bulk forming laxatives that may cause some interaction with the stool softener, with an impact on the outcomes of either or both of the products.



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