Amitiza

Generic Name

lubiprostone (loo bee PROS tone)

 

Trade Name

Amitiza®.

 

What is lubiprostone?

Lubiprostone is a fatty acid that acts to increase intestinal fluid secretion, which helps ease the passage of stool and relieve the symptoms associated with constipation.

 

What is it used for?

It is used in the treatment of chronic constipation of an unknown cause and for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) in adult women.

 

How do I take it?

Follow your physician’s instructions carefully.  The usual dosage is 8 mcg or 24 mcg to be taken twice daily with food and water.  Swallow the pill or capsule whole and do not break, crush or chew.  Keep all medications away from children.  Never share your medications with anyone else.

 

What do I do for a missed dose?

If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as possible.  If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to the regular schedule.  Do not take a double dose of this medication.

 

Are there interactions with food or beverages?

The drug should be taken with food and water.

 

Are there interactions with other drugs?

An interaction generally means that one drug may increase or decrease the effect of another drug.  There are no known significant interactions associated with lubiprostone.

 

Is there a problem if I have another disorder or disease?

If you know or suspect you have a bowel blockage, do not take lubiprostone.  If you are unsure, your healthcare provider should evaluate your condition before starting lubiprostone.  You should not take lubiprostone if you have severe diarrhea.  Additionally, patients with hepatic impairment or renal impairment should use caution when taking this medication, since the effects of this medication on hepatic and renal impairment have not been studied.

 

What about allergies?

People who have known allergies or asthma may be at an increased risk for a reaction from any new medication.  The physician should always know a patient’s allergy history.  Signs of an allergic reaction are skin rash, hives or fever.  Of course, a person should not take lubiprostone if there has been a previous reaction to this.

 

What if I’m pregnant, considering pregnancy or breast-feeding?

Animal reproduction studies show that lubiprostone may cause fetal loss; therefore, the manufacturer classifies lubiprostone as a category C risk.  It is not advised to take this medication while pregnant.  Women of childbearing potential should have a negative pregnancy test prior to starting therapy and should be capable of complying with effective contraception.  It is not known if lubiprostone is excreted in breast milk; therefore, it is not advised to breast-feed while taking medication.

 

What are the effects on sexual function?

There are no known adverse effects of lubiprostone on sexual function.

 

Are there other precautions?

Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.  Please also make your physician aware if you decide to become pregnant at any point while taking this medication.

 

How long is it safe to take lubiprostone?

A period of a few weeks is usually necessary to determine the drug’s effectiveness.  Long-term use of months to years is generally necessary and safe but does require a physician’s supervision and periodic evaluation.

 

How about side effects?

Adverse reactions can occur with any drug, even over-the-counter medications. Some of these are mild such as a stomach upset, which may be avoided by taking the medication with food. Minor reactions may go away on their own but, if they persist, contact the physician. For major reactions, the patient should contact the physician immediately.

For lubiprostone, the following are the observed side effects:

Minor:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • gas

Major:

  • dyspnea (chest tightness)
  • urinary tract infection
  • anxiety
  • increased liver enzymes

 

A physician’s comment…

This medication is an effective drug for both males and female with chronic constipation and women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, yet it is not successful for all populations.  This medication has not been approved for use in males with Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation.  The safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established in children.