Irritable bowel syndrome or other conditions are known to cause constipation that results in acute discomfort among the affected. Routines are disrupted in addition to the health complications from constipation. Various methods of treatment are used for alleviating the condition, including the use of laxatives, stool softeners etc. Linzess is one among the different treatment options, and is specifically used for treating constipation attributed to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, apart from constipation from other unknown reasons. Let delve into the details of the medication and understand the side effects of linzess which will help prevent and mitigate any possible adverse effects.

Overview of linzess the stool softener

Belonging to the category of guanylate cyclase-C agonist, Linzess is an oral formulation comprising fourteen different amino acids. It is necessary to distinguish the medication from laxatives – Linzess does not belong to the category of laxatives, but is classified as a stool softener that can be used for managing constipation attributed to various reasons. The mechanism of action results in elevation of cGMP levels, which in turns ends up stimulating secretion of chloride and bicarbonate into the intestinal lumen. This results in an increase in the amount of intestinal fluid secreted, and also helps in reduction of visceral pain.  The decrease in pain is as a result of the increased extracellular cGMP which in turn brings about a reduction in activity of nerves that are linked to pain sensations.

Prescription medication for stimulating bowel movements

As outlined above, Linzess is classified as an IBS agent, that stimulate chloride and water secretion in the intestines. This improves bowel movements and is effective for patients with IBS who typically suffer from chronic constipation. The medication is typically administered once every day and also helps in pain management; as patients with the condition are known to experience abdominal pain. It is ideally taken on an empty stomach, to eliminate the possibility of gastrointestinal intolerance. Patents are advised to leave a gap of 30 minutes after taking the medication, before consuming any food. Linzess is not to be considered as medication for the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or any underlying conditions that cause constipation. It is essentially a medication that is taken exclusively for relieving constipation caused by the underlying conditions.

How to reduce the possibility of side effects

One of the main reasons for side effects in medications is incorrect dosage and improper use of medications. Individuals tend to generally handle prescription medications with greater care, unlike OTC formulations that are often taken in excessive dosages. However, there is the possibility of overdose of medications in an attempt to achieve faster or better results from medications. This approach is erroneous, and can result in serious or adverse effects. It is necessary to diligently follow the dosage instructions, which includes the method, the time of taking the medication and the gap between two doses.

Ideal dosage recommendations

Actual dosages of medications including Linzess may depend on the condition and other factors related to the patient. For instance, the age of the patient, the underlying condition, the use of other medications and the existence of other conditions that may be impacted in some way by the mechanism of action of the medication. Information provided below is only for the purpose of reference and for an understanding of the average and upper limits of dosages in various conditions. Patients are to follow the explicit instructions of specialists when taking the medication.

Adults diagnosed with idiopathic constipation are recommended a dose of 145 mcg daily, and in some cases, the dosage may be halved to 72 mcg daily. Children below two years of age are not to be administered the medication, while children above the age of two are recommended dosages as per specific assessment. Adults diagnosed with IBS that results in constipation are recommended a higher dosage of 290 mcg daily. Children below the age of two are not to be administered the medication, while the actual dosage for children above two years of age will be as per assessment.

Additional dosage related information

Patients are cautioned against taking double doses to make up for a missed dose. There should be a clear gap of one day between two doses. As outlined above, the medication is to be taken once a day and is always taken on an empty stomach. Therefore, any attempt to take the medication anytime later in the day to make up for a missed dose, will actually end up going against the standard dosage instructions. Any complications or symptoms observed as a result of overdose are to be immediately reported, and the patient is advised to seek medical intervention to prevent the condition from aggravating.

Precautions in specific conditions

To prevent side effects of linzess it is necessary to exercise caution in certain conditions. For instance, the efficacy or the possibility of adverse outcomes on pregnant women has not been studied in detail. Similarly, the effect of the medication on breastfeeding women and suckling infants have not been assessed properly. While there is limited possibility of the medication being absorbed into milk, the absence of supporting scientific studies, makes it necessary for breastfeeding women to exercise caution and seek medical advice before taking the medication.

Storage requirements and method of consumption

The medication has storage requirements and it is essential for patients to follow the instructions to prevent degradation of the medication and its capability. The medication is not to be exposed to direct heat, air or light, as this may result in possible impact on the medication. It is to be stored in a place under room temperature and is not to be either chewed or broken before consumption. Patients who experience difficulty in swallowing the capsule as a whole may open the capsule and mix the contents in applesauce. The mixture may then be swallowed directly.

Commonly reported undesirable outcomes of Linzess

Side effects are common to all medications and the effects may range from mild, moderate to adverse and intense. In certain instances, the effects may last for a very short duration and in some instances, the effects may persist for a longer period. The possibility of adverse outcomes may actually differ from individual to individual. Some may experience effects, while others may not experience any effects whatsoever. Here is an overview of some of the possible effects of the medication.

Mild, moderate effects

Individuals on the medication are likely to end up with bouts of diarrhea, while some may experience pain in the stomach. Patients are also likely to end up with a full feeling, as a result of the formation of gas in the stomach. These effects are typically mild in nature and may not last for a long period. In most instances, it may not be necessary to seek medical attention to manage the above symptoms or effects. Intervention may be necessary only in a limited number of cases, where the effects persist or if the effects are intense in nature.

Adverse effects that need to be observed

In addition to the above, there is also the possibility of individuals experiencing effects that are classified as serious in nature. These effects may require some kind of medical intervention or management to prevent the conditions from manifesting or aggravating to serious  levels. For instance, patients may experience diarrhea that may or may not be accompanied with dizziness. Patients in professions that require attention and alertness may find themselves in a difficult situation as dizziness may impact ability to discharge duties. Similarly, there is also the possibility of a light headed feeling among patients that may have an impact on conduct either in social settings or in professional workspaces. One of the possible effects of the mechanism of action of the medication is increased thirst and possible increase in the urge to urinate. This is because of the increase in intestinal fluids triggered by the mechanism of action of the medication. Individuals on the medication are also likely to experience cramps in the legs, and may appear wobbly at times. This may also impact routines, and could also be hazardous when maneuvering stairs.

Serious effects that require medical attention

A possible change in the rhythm and pace of heart beats is another possibility that may require some kind of medical attention. Patients may experience a distinct fluttering kind of sensation in the chest and are advised to take note of the same and seek further assessment. An overall weakness in the muscles are other possible undesirable outcomes of the medication. Most medications come with the possibility of triggering an allergic reaction among a small section of users. This could be allergies to active compounds in the medication, and users with known allergies are advised to report the same to the specialist or take a test dose.

Categories of users considered as unsuitable for the medication

There are categories of users considered as unsuitable for taking the medication. For instance, patients diagnosed with failure of the lungs are advised to avoid the medication. Similarly, individuals with renal impairment are also considered as unsuitable to take the medication. Other categories of patients include individuals with stomach blockage or blockage in the intestines. Individuals on certain medications are also advised to avoid Linzess. For instance, patients with diabetes on pramlintide are not to take the medication, as there is the possibility of drug interactions.

While there are no other known or recorded instances of drug interactions, it is advisable to intimate the treating specialist about the medications in use. This is necessary as the mechanisms of action of various medications may conflict and trigger undesirable effects. For instance, this may trigger an increase in side effects, or reduce the efficacy of either of the two medications.

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