How Does It Work?
Lotronex belongs to a group of medications known as 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. It works by blocking the action of a certain chemical in the body known as serotonin (also called 5-HT). It does this by preventing serotonin from binding to receptors known as 5-HT3 receptors. These receptors are located in various parts of the body, including the intestines.
Serotonin has many roles in the body. Most notably, serotonin is involved in mood. However, this important chemical also plays a role in the functioning of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When serotonin binds to 5-HT3 receptors in the gut, it regulates the movement of waste through the intestines, the amount of fluid in stool, and our response to pain and discomfort in the abdomen (stomach).
While the exact cause of IBS is not entirely known, it appears that having too much serotonin may cause food to move through the intestines too quickly (which can cause diarrhea) and increase pain sensitivity. By preventing serotonin from binding to 5-HT3 receptors in the intestines, Lotronex can help reduce diarrhea and pain associated with IBS.
Is It Safe for Children to Use Lotronex?
Lotronex has not been adequately studied in children, and is not approved for use in this age group (generally considered individuals younger than 18 years of age). Because of the risk for potentially serious gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, the manufacturer of this medicine recommends that it should not be used in children.
Can Older Adults Use It?
Older adults can use this medication. However, Lotronex has been reported to cause potentially serious complications due to constipation. It appears that older individuals may have a greater risk for these constipation-related problems. Therefore, this medication should be used cautiously in older adults.