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The side effects of Linzess

Linaclotide (brand name Linzess) is a medication prescribed to adults to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), IBS with constipation and chronic idiopathic (unknown) constipation (CIC). Linzess is a guanylate cyclase-C agonist that works to treat IBS, IBS-C and CIC by increasing production of water and chloride in the intestines, promoting movement of waste and food through the gastrointestinal system and by suppressing pain signals in the small and large intestines.

While Linzess may help manage symptoms of IBS, it will not cure the chronic diarrhea, constipation and pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Once you stop taking Linzess, your IBS symptoms will return in seven to 10 days.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Linaclotide "has caused death in laboratory mice" [1]. The FDA also warns that children between six and 17 years old should never take Linzess due to lack of research information regarding the effects of Linaclotide on children and adolescents.

Linzess may cause multiple side effects [2] that include:

Linzess may cause other side effects not listed, such as symptoms of an allergic reaction [3] to Linaclotide. Hives, severe itching, difficulty breathing, chest tightness and swelling of the throat and tongue indicate an impending allergic reaction that needs immediate medical treatment.

Clinical trial results with Linzess

Nine percent of IBS-C patients participating in placebo-controlled clinical trials discontinued their involvement in these trials prematurely when Linzess caused adverse reactions, specifically abdominal pain and diarrhea. In long-term trials, 29 percent of 2147 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (with constipation) had to reduce their dosage of Linzess due to adverse reactions.

In trial patients suffering chronic idiopathic constipation, 16 percent reported diarrhea and two percent reported severe diarrhea. One percent of CIC patients taking Linzess reported fecal incontinence. In addition, eight percent of trial subjects [4], diagnosed with CIC discontinued participation prematurely due to suffering severe adverse effects.

Facts about Linzess:

Drug interactions with Linzess

Linaclotide is known to interact moderately [10] with 25 different drugs. Some of these medications include desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol, levonorgestrel and thyroid desiccated. By causing rapid and sometimes severe onset of diarrhea, Linzess inhibits absorption of these and many other oral medications, which significantly reduces the medication's ability to exert beneficial health effects.

Linzess interaction with food

If you take Linzess with food, you may suffer increased side effects involving abdominal pain, diarrhea and gas. To reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal intolerance, Linzess needs to be taken 30 minutes before you eat your first meal of the day.

How does Linzess affect colonic microbiota?

Composed of hundreds of different genes and over 1000 bacteria types, colonic microbiota [11] (gut/intestinal flora) wields such influence on our health that it's often referred to as a hidden "organ".  Changes to the gut microbiome can benefit or harm someone's health, depending on whether certain bacterial species overwhelm another bacterial species. Disruption of colonic microbiota is called dysbiosis, a condition that may promote obesity, IBD, diabetes, ulcerative colitis and malnutrition.

Linzess can have a negative impact on bacterial populations in the gut by dramatically altering intestinal chemistry. When the drug binds to intestinal epithelial (surface) cells [12], it elevates levels of cyclic guanosine monophosphate, a substance that increases secretion of bicarbonate, water and chloride in the intestines. Bicarbonate and chloride radically upset the pH level in the intestines, making the gut a more attractive place in which "bad" bacteria responsible numerous diseases thrive.

Linzess reviews

Linzess users providing reviews on WebMD [14] state the following about Linzess:

Makers of Linzess

Allergan and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. manufacture and market Linzess. Allergan [15] is known for producing Botox, Juvederm and some psychiatric medications while Ironwood [16]  is behind Linzess and a medication for gout relief.  This is the first time either company has manufactured and marketed a drug for relieving symptoms of IBS, IBS-C or CIC.