All About Linzess and How It Works Compared to Other Medications
74% of Americans have some sort of gastrointestinal (GI) issue. If you’re one of few who don’t, then lucky you!
But if you’re in the majority, not only do you suffer from unpleasant symptoms, but you may also feel frustrated and even embarrassed. You shouldn’t let your GI issues take control of your life.
If you have stomach problems, then you may benefit from Linzess. But how does it compare to other medications on the market?
Read on to learn all about Linzess and how it measures up to other similar medications.
What Is Linzess?
Linzess is a prescription medication also known as linaclotide (generic/chemical name). It’s used mainly for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Linzess falls under the drug class of guanylate cyclase-C agonists, which means it’s a strong type of laxative.
How does this medication work? Well, it increases the amount of chloride and water you make in your intestines. As a result, it can soften the stools in there and help you have regular bowel movements.
How to Take Linzess
Your doctor should go over the directions; you’ll also receive a pamphlet. Make sure you follow all the instructions you receive. Don’t try to take either smaller or larger doses on your own.
In general, you need to take Linzess when you first wake up, on an empty stomach; this makes it a once-a-day medication. If this isn’t possible, then make sure you take it at least 30 minutes before you first eat.
You should swallow the capsule whole. However, if you’re not able to, you can break open the capsule and put the contents into water, then swallow all of it right away.
Do note that it may take up to 2 weeks to see noticeable results. So if you’re not seeing any improvement initially, keep taking Linzess as directed. However, if your symptoms get worse, you should call your doctor.
Common Side Effects
As with all medications, there are some potential side effects that may occur when you take Linzess. These are:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal distension
Do note that these are potential side effects; you may not necessarily get any of them.
Things to Know Before Taking Linzess
Because Linzess is a powerful laxative that’s prescription-only, this means there are certain people who shouldn’t take this medication. For example, you shouldn’t take it if you’re allergic to linaclotide or have a blockage in your intestines.
Linzess should never be used for a child who’s under 6. If you want to give this medication to your children who are teenagers, you need to check with a doctor too.
If you’re currently pregnant, or are planning on becoming pregnant, you need to tell your doctor. The effects of Linzess on a fetus aren’t quite known yet.
Similarly, if you’re breastfeeding, you also need to inform your doctor. It’s not known if this medication can pass into breast milk. And if it does, medical professionals aren’t sure if it’s harmful either.
How Linzess Compares to Other Medications
Now you have some general information about Linzess. But what about other medications for constipation and IBS? We’ll take a look at the most common ones below and discuss how they compare to Linzess.
Amitiza is a prescription drug (tablet form) also known as lubiprostone (generic name). In addition to treating chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) and IBS like Linzess does, Amitiza can also treat opioid-induced constipation (OIC).
Amitiza is an older drug than Linzess is and is not a guanylate cyclase-C agonist. Instead, it’s a chloride channel activator. You must take it twice a day, whereas you only need to take Linzess once daily.
Because it’s a different type of medication, Amitiza has different side effects associated with it. In addition to the ones found in Linzess, you may also get nausea and headaches.
Another difference is the type of IBS it treats. Linzess can be used to treat IBS-C in all adults while Amitiza can only be used for women over 18 who have IBS-C.
While Linzess has no significant drug interactions, Amitiza may have some with diphenylheptane opioids, like methadone. It’s also proven to have fetal harm, which means it’s a hard no when it comes to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Like the other 2 medications on this list, lactulose is a prescription drug. It’s a syrup you have to take once or twice a day, either with or without food.
Lactulose is a general laxative that can be used to treat constipation and IBS, as well as hepatic encephalopathy. Because it’s a sweet syrup, it’s more palatable. Considering children over 14 can take lactulose, this is a big benefit for younger patients.
However, because of its sugar content, lactulose may not be a good option for people who have conditions such as lactose intolerance, galactosemia, and diabetes.
There are minimal side effects for this medication. They include diarrhea, bloating, and nausea. If you have stomach pain, cramps, or vomiting, you need to stop taking lactulose and call your doctor ASAP.
Because this medication comes in syrup form rather than a tablet, it may be a good choice if you have trouble swallowing tablets.
Get Relief From Your Stomach Troubles Today
As you can see, Linzess is an effective medication that can help you with constipation. While Amitiza can help with OIC and lactulose is easier to take, overall, Linzess seems to be the best overall choice for constipation and IBS.
Regardless, you need to consult with your doctor to figure out what the best medication is for you. So don’t hesitate to book an appointment with them at your earliest convenience.
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