Linzess comes as a capsule that is taken once daily to help treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. It is also licensed to treat chronic idiopathic constipation, which is long-term constipation with an unknown cause. Most people who take this drug tolerate it well. However, side effects are possible and include diarrhea, gas, and abdominal (stomach) pain.
What Is Linzess?
Linzess™ (linaclotide) is a prescription medication approved to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (long-term constipation with no known cause). It is the first in a new class of medicines known as guanylate cyclase-C agonists (or simply GC-C agonists). Linzess is only approved for adults; it should not be used in children.
This medication is made by Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. It is marketed by Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does Linzess Work?
Linzess works by binding to an enzyme in the intestines known as guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C). When Linzess binds to GC-C, it causes the enzyme to become active. Activated GC-C increases the amount of fluid in the intestines, and accelerates movement of content through the intestines. This helps relieve symptoms of constipation.
In animal studies, Linzess decreased the activity of pain-sensing nerves in the intestines, which reduced pain. It is unknown whether the drug has the same effect on pain-sensing nerves in humans.
It is worthwhile to note that Linzess works directly in the intestines. It is not absorbed into the bloodstream with normal use.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Linzess [package insert]. St. Louis, MO: Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.;2013 August.
Linzess Web site. Available at: http://www.linzess.com/. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 30, 2013.
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