Irritable Bowel Syndrome Home > Zelnorm

Zelnorm is a medication that is used mainly to treat chronic idiopathic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. By stimulating certain serotonin receptors in the digestive tract, the medicine can help the digestive tract muscles move food through more quickly and make the nerves in the digestive tract less sensitive. Zelnorm comes in a tablet form taken twice a day before meals (on an empty stomach). Potential side effects may include diarrhea, headache, and nausea, among other things.

What Is Zelnorm?

Zelnorm® (tegaserod maleate) is a prescription medicine that was licensed for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation, as well as constipation that has lasted longer than six months with no apparent cause.
In March 2007, Zelnorm was taken off the market in the United States because it was shown to increase the risk for a heart attack, angina, or stroke. In July 2007, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Zelnorm will be available to people who meet certain criteria through a special program called a "treatment IND" (see Zelnorm Recall for more information). However, as of April 2, 2008, Zelnorm is no longer available under the treatment IND program, although it may still be available in certain emergency situations.

Who Makes Zelnorm?

It is manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

What Is Zelnorm Used For?

Specific uses of the drug include:
  • Short-term treatment of IBS with constipation in women.
  • Treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in people less than 65 years of age. Chronic constipation is constipation lasting at least six months. Idiopathic constipation means constipation not due to other diseases or drugs.
It is not meant to treat people with IBS who have diarrhea as the main symptom.
(Click Zelnorm Uses for more information on what the medication is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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