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Amitiza for IBS Constipation

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Updated February 20, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Amitiza (lubiprostone) is a medication that is FDA-approved for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in adults and constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C) in women over the age of 18. Amitiza is an oral medication that has a laxative effect.

How Does Amitiza Work?:

Amitiza stimulates the release of fluids into the lining of the intestines. It is thought that this increased fluid secretion softens the stool and decreases stool transit time, thus relieving the symptoms of constipation. Amitiza's effects are thought to remain almost exclusively within the intestinal tract.

Does Amitiza Work?:

The research suggests that Amitiza is slightly better than a placebo in reducing the symptoms of constipation. Amitiza has been shown to:

  • Increase stool frequency
  • Produce more consistent, well-formed stools
  • Reduce straining and incomplete bowel evacuation
  • Reduce abdominal pain and discomfort

 

Who Shouldn't Take Amitiza:

You should not take Amitiza if you are experiencing any symptoms of diarrhea or a bowel obstruction. Women who are breast-feeding should only take Amitiza under the supervision of their doctors. Amitiza has not been approved for use in children.

Side Effects of Amitiza:

Amitiza is usually well-tolerated and serious side effects are rare. The following side effects have been reported:

Nausea associated with Amitiza is not a rare event: It's estimated that 19 to 29% of Amitiza users experience nausea. In order to reduce the risk of nausea, it is recommended that you take the medication with food.

Sources:

Carter, N. & Scott L. "Lubiprostone: in constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome." Drugs 2009 69:1229-1237.

Chey, W., et.al. "Safety and patient outcomes with lubiprostone for up to 52 weeks in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation" Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2012 35:587-599.

Gaman, A., Bucur, M. & Kuo, B. Therapeutic advances in functional gastrointestinal disease: irritable bowel syndrome Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 2009 2:169-181.

Johnston, J. et.al. “Pilot Study on the Effect of Linaclotide in Patients With Chronic Constipation” American Journal of Gastroenterology 2009 104:125-132.

Lacy, B. & Chey, W. "Lubiprostone: chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 2009 10:143-152.

Lacy, B., Weiser, K. & Lee, R. The treatment of irritable bowel syndrome Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 2009 2:221 - 238.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.

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