Normal life is thrown into disarray as a result of certain ailments that have an impact on actions performed as a matter of routine. The inability to pass stool at the start of every day, or the discomfort arising from constipation can have an impact that extends to professional or social life. One of the reasons for constipation is Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and presently a range of treatment options are typically used for managing the condition. This includes laxatives, stool softeners and suppositories that have varying degrees of effectiveness, depending on the condition. The following sub sections will study in detail possible side effects of linzess used for treating constipation due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other reasons.

Are stool softeners and laxative the same?

Stool softeners and laxatives are different substances used for a similar outcome. As the desired outcome is the same, most individuals tend to consider the two interchangeably. While a stool softener can be broadly classified as a laxative, a laxative cannot be considered as a stool softener. A laxative works by facilitating bowel movements, which in turn helps in passing of stools. However, stool softeners work in a different manner, by actually making the stool soft and moist. This helps the passing of stools, though, the mechanism of action of this is different from that of a laxative. Laxatives are of different types, that will be explained subsequently.

All that you need to know about Linzess the stool softener

Now that the basic difference between stool softeners and laxatives have been listed, it is time to look at the Linzess in detail. An oral formulation with 14 amino acids, Linzess belongs to the category of guanylate cyclase-C agonist stool softener.

Linzess works by increasing cGMP levels, and consequently, chloride and bicarbonate secretion increases in the intestinal lumen. The increased secretion of intestinal fluid, in turn helps soothe and reduce visceral pain. This is primarily as a result of the reduced activity of the nerves that are responsible for pain stimuli, due to the increased extracellular cGMP.

What kind of conditions can be managed with Linzess

To know more about the side effects of linzess it is necessary to learn about the conditions that can be managed effectively by Linzess. It stimulates intestinal secretion of chloride and water secretion which in turn has an impact on bowel movements. Patients with IBS are known to experience chronic constipation and the prescription medication helps manage constipation and pain associated with the condition. Taken once daily, it is intended to be taken on an empty stomach; there is a specific purpose behind taking the medication on an empty stomach – to avoid gastrointestinal intolerance that may occur if taken with food.

The gap between the time of consuming the medication and food should be ideally half an hour. Linzess is prescribed for treating the constipation part of IBS, and separate medications are to be consumed to treat IBS as per the advice of medical specialists. There is a likelihood of individuals assuming relief from constipation to be the desired outcome of treatment of IBS, which is a wrong misconception.

How much of Linzess is safe to consume without undesirable effects?

Various reasons contribute to the possibility of side effects. This includes excessive dosages and a casual approach to use of OTC products. Most individuals tend to consider OTC products as totally free from dosage restrictions or schedule, and end up with undesirable effects. Similarly, prescription medications are sometimes taken in stronger dosages with wrong misconceptions that more effectiveness can be achieved. There is a clear need to fully follow all medication related instructions to prevent undesirable effects.

Constipation as a result of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is typically treated with a daily dosage of 290 mcg. Constipation classified as idiopathic constipation is treated with a daily dose that could be either 72 mcg or 145 mcg. This depends on the condition and other factors that are used to determine the right, effective and safe dosage. The dosage for children will depend entirely on the assessment of the specialist, through children below two years are not to be given Linzess.

Important information about avoiding double dosage

There is a tendency among patients to take a double dosage when any scheduled dose has been missed. This is wrong practice and should be avoided as Linzess needs to be taken on an empty stomach only once daily with a gap of a day between scheduled dosage. Individuals are likely to have consumed food before realizing or noticing the missed dose, followed up by an attempt to take a double dose or a dose close to the next scheduled dosage. This could result in complications and it is important to seek assistance to prevent the onset of side effects of linzess due to overdose.

The actual dose of Linzess will be determined on the intensity of the condition, and other contributing factors – patient age, condition causing the constipation, other medications/conditions. There could be an interaction between two different types of medications and the dosage or schedule will typically be modified to prevent interactions.

Is Linzess safe for pregnant women? 

The effect of Linzess on pregnant women has not been studied in depth. It is therefore advised to seek medical advice on the use of the stool softener. On a similar note, the effects of the medication are yet to be assessed on nursing mothers. The possibility of Linzess getting absorbed in milk of nursing mothers has not been studied, and is therefore to be considered before using the stool softener. While the possible outcomes are not really adverse in nature, it is best to seek advice, and assess other conditions before commencing use.

Are there any special instructions on the mode of consumption of Linzess? 

Linzess is to be swallowed whole and the capsule should not be broken or chewed. However, there is a possibility that some patients may find it difficult to swallow the capsule, and in such circumstances, it may be required to open the capsule and empty the contents into applesauce; the contents may then be swallowed for the mechanism of action to work with desired outcomes.

Additionally, the medication is not to be stored in a manner that will expose it to direct heat, light or air, as this may result in the medication losing its effectives. There are storage instructions that need to be followed to ensure that the formulation is effective.

What kind of unwanted effects may be experienced from Linzess?

It is a matter of record that all medications and OTC formulations come with the possibility of undesirable outcomes or effects. The actual effects may differ from person to person, and the duration or the intensity may also differ, depending on various circumstances. It is also true that certain individuals may not experience any effects whatsoever, from the medication. Here is a compilation of commonly reported mild and adverse effects of Linzess.

#1 Effects that are regarded as mild that are not a cause for concern

Flatulence or a full feeling are possible effects that may be typically experienced by patients on the stool softener. This is known to last for a short duration, and may not require any kind of treatment. This is due gas forming in the stomach, and if the discomfort either persists on intensifies, some treatment may help offer relief. Diarrhea is another possible outcome, that may also not last long enough to be cause for concern. This may or may not be accompanied by stomach pain.

#2 Effects that may require medical attention

Effects that may require some kind of medical attention include dizziness that sometimes accompanies diarrhea. This may have an impact on the ability of individuals to discharge responsibilities. Professions that require high state of alertness or quick reflexes, or responsibilities that include operation of heavy machinery, or work in hazardous environments may be affected.

The mechanism of action of the stool softener, as outlined earlier causes an increase in the flow of intestinal fluids. Consequently, patients may feel the urge to urinate more frequently than normal; in addition to increased thirst. Frequent washroom visits may cause some impact in a social setting., Other possible effects that may require assistance include cramps in the legs, and patients are likely to have unstable movements. This could be a matter of concern, as unassisted patients are likely to suffer falls due, especially while ascending or descending a flight of stairs.

#3 Effects that are serious or adverse

In addition to the above, there are effects that are serious in nature and require treatment to prevent it from turning into a medical emergency. Heart beats of patients may differ with a change in rhythm and pace; warranting urgent attention. Similarly, a distinct light feeling in the chest, that can be described as a flutter is a cause for concern, requiring urgent attention by trained experts, in a health care facility.

Muscle weakness, and allergic reactions are other possible outcomes of the medication that may also require treatment. A small section of users is likely to experience allergic reactions to active compounds in Linzess. Individuals who have had some kind of allergic reaction in the past or with a history of allergies are to inform the treating specialist in advance of the allergies; and a test dose is likely to be administered to check for possible allergies.

Who should not take Linzess? 

Linzess is not considered as suitable for patients with lung ailments and renal impairment. Stomach blockage or intestine blockage are conditions that make the patient unsuitable for using Linzess. Regardless of the relatively safe profile of the medication, it is essential for individuals to check with the treating specialist about interactions with other medications; from the point of view of ensuring nil impact on the desired outcomes of both medications. For instance, patients on medications with specific mechanisms of action are considered as unsuitable for taking the stool softener, due to the possibility of a drug interaction. Pramlintide, administered for diabetics could cause interactions. Similarly, stool softeners are not to be used in combination with other laxatives, such as bulk forming laxatives.

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