Zelnorm can be used to treat several conditions related to constipation. The drug is used mainly to treat chronic idiopathic constipation in people less than 65 years of age and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation in women. However, Zelnorm may also be used "off-label" to treat IBS in men and chronic idiopathic constipation in people ages 65 and older. Zelnorm has not been approved for treating constipation in children or infants.
Zelnorm® (tegaserod maleate) is a prescription medicine that was licensed to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation and chronic idiopathic constipation.
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.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) With Constipation
There are three types of IBS: IBS with constipation, IBS with diarrhea, and IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea. Zelnorm is for use only in people who have IBS with constipation; Zelnorm is not intended to be used by people who have other types of IBS. IBS can be affected by many things, including your diet and stress (see Stress and Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or other emotions. In addition to medication, avoiding certain foods (see IBS Diet) or stressful situations may help the symptoms of IBS.
Symptoms of IBS with constipation include abdominal pain (or stomach pain) or bloating and changes in bowel movements. With constipation, bowel movements are less frequent and can be hard. These hard bowel movements can cause straining and pain.
When Zelnorm is used for IBS treatment in women, it helps to relieve constipation symptoms and the pain, straining, and bloating associated with IBS.
Zelnorm has not been shown to be an effective IBS medication for men. It has not been studied for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in children.