Yet another symptom focused drug has been approved for IBS patients. In a very short trial, this new drug was determined to help more patients that placebo to have a bowel movement when constipated. The primary side effect noted was diarrhea.
Again it’s worth pointing out that this drug does not address the cause of IBS symptoms (in this case constipation). It merely forces the body to move the intestines. Another drug that worked similarly (Zelnorm) was taken off the market because of the high risk of heart problems and other severe side effects.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not caused because you aren’t taking enough prescription drugs – it is caused by some issue with the digestive tract and/or immune system. Doing the right testing can identify the cause and enable the patient to treat that, rather than just treat the symptom.
All drugs have side-effects. This one does too, and more will become apparent as it is put into use.
Excerpt from Boston.com:
Food and Drug Administration gave the thumbs up Thursday for a new drug to treat chronic constipation that doesn’t respond to standard treatments. The drug, Linzess (linaclotide), is also approved to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. More than one in five Americans experience cramping and difficulty passing stool on a chronic basis, according to the National Institutes of Health, and could be eligible for treatment with this new drug.
Linzess, manufactured by Cambridge-based Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, is a once-daily capsule taken on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before breakfast. It works increasing the frequency of bowel movements and also helps to ease abdominal cramps associated with IBS.
“No one medication works for all patients suffering from these gastrointestinal disorders,” Dr. Victoria Kusiak, an FDA deputy director in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “With the availability of new therapies, patients and their doctors can select the most appropriate treatment for their condition.”
Fiber supplements and laxatives are usually the first treatments used for constipation. When those don’t work, doctors can prescribe lubiprostone (Amitiza), which works by increasing fluid in the small intestine to help with the passage of stool. It can cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and its full safety risks remain unknown.
Article Courtesy: Dr. Stephen Wangen
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