Lubiprostone (Oral)

Lubiprostone increases the release of fluid in the intestines to make bowel movements (passing of stool) easier.

Overview

Lubiprostone is a prescription medicine that helps relieve abdominal discomfort and bloating, improve the texture of stools, decrease the strain of passing stools, and decrease the feeling that you've not fully relieved yourself.

Lubiprostone belongs to the class of drugs called laxatives, which work by releasing more fluid in the intestines, making bowel movements (passing of stool) easier.

Lubiprostone is prescribed for treating idiopathic constipation in adults. The term idiopathic means that the constipation has no known cause and factors like diet, side effects from drugs, or underlying illness have been ruled out.

This medication may be prescribed for the treatment of constipation caused by opioids or narcotic pain medicines. In some situations, low doses of Lubiprostone are prescribed for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome along with constipation in women aged 18 and over.

Lubiprostone is a capsule and is normally taken twice each day with water and food. You should swallow the capsule whole. Don't chew, break, or crush it.

The FDA approved Lubiprostone in 2006. It's made by Takeda and marketed under the brand name Amitiza.

Common Lubiprostone side effects include stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea.

Conditions Treated

  • Chronic idiopathic constipation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome along with constipation
  • Opiate pain medication-induced constipation

Type Of Medicine

  • Laxative

Side Effects

In addition to the useful effects, some adverse effects may occur after using Lubiprostone. While not all of the following effects may develop, if they do they may require medical treatment.

Check with your physician promptly if you suffer any of the effects listed below:

More common:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Pressure in the tummy or feeling full or bloated
  • Swelling of stomach or abdominal area

Less common:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of control of bowels
  • Joint pain
  • Increased sweating
  • Headache
  • General feeling of illness or discomfort
  • Fever
  • Labored or difficult breathing
  • Colds
  • Cough
  • Blood in stools
  • Chills
  • Chest pain/discomfort
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle pains and aches
  • Sore throat
  • Shivering
  • Sweating
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual tiredness/weakness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tightness in chest

Frequency not known:

  • Swelling
  • Stomach tenderness
  • Swelling or puffiness of eyelids or around eyes, lips, face, or tongue
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Irregular, pounding, or fast pulse or heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Lightheadedness, faintness, or dizziness when suddenly getting up from a lying/sitting position
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision

Get emergency assistance at once if you develop any of these overdose symptoms:

Overdose symptoms:

  • Severe, unusual weakness/tiredness
  • Redness of the arms, neck, face, and sometimes upper chest
  • Paleness of skin
  • Loss/lack of strength
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling of warmth
  • Dry heaves
  • Weight loss

Some Lubiprostone side effects may happen that normally don't require medical treatment. These effects may disappear during treatment while you adjust to Lubiprostone. Moreover, your healthcare provider may suggest various methods to help reduce or prevent some of the effects below. Please see your healthcare provider if any of the side effects below are bothersome or persist, or if you've got some questions about them.

More common:

  • Passing gas
  • Excess gas or air in the intestines or stomach

Less common:

  • Bladder pain
  • Belching
  • Cold sweats
  • Change in taste
  • Bloody/cloudy urine
  • Low spirits
  • Fear or nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with moving
  • Painful, burning, or difficult urination
  • Feeling empty or sad
  • Heartburn
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Swollen joints
  • Stomach upset
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Side or lower back pain
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of pleasure or interest
  • Irritability
  • Increased weight
  • Indigestion
  • Unusual tiredness, dullness, drowsiness, or sluggishness

Get emergency medical assistance if you've got any of the following signs of an allergy: difficulty with breathing, hives, swelling of the tongue/throat/face/lips.

Lubiprostone may infrequently bring on an episode of troubled breathing (dyspnea). Although this reaction is normally not serious and disappears within 3 hours, you may be unable to differentiate between the troubled breathing and severe reactions above.

Seek medical attention at once if you develop chest tightness, trouble breathing, pain, or discomfort.

Call your physician promptly if you have ongoing or severe diarrhea or nausea.

Other Lubiprostone side effects not mentioned above may occur in some people too. If you develop any other effects, be sure to see your healthcare provider immediately.

Dosage

Take this medication exactly as ordered by your physician. The recommended dose of this medication varies based on the medical disorder being treated and other medical disorders you may have.

The recommended doses of Lubiprostone are as follows:

  • 24 micrograms taken twice daily for chronic idiopathic constipation
  • 8 micrograms taken twice daily for irritable bowel syndrome along with constipation
  • 24 micrograms taken twice daily for opioid-induced constipation

Remember to honor all appointments with your physician. This is so he/she can monitor your progress.

If you've been using Lubiprostone for 14 days and your symptoms haven't improved at all, let your physician know.

Lubiprostone is available as a capsule and should be taken orally (by mouth) with water and food. It's normally 2 times daily. Please swallow the capsules whole. Don't break, crush, or chew them.

It's advisable to take this medication with water and food to reduce the chances of suffering nausea.

Take at least 6-8 glasses of fluid daily. This will help soften your stool.

If you've missed a Lubiprostone dose, just skip it. Don't take two capsules to compensate for your missed dose.

A healthy diet consisting of fiber (e.g. wholegrain cereals and breads, bran, green leafy vegetables, and fruit) with 6-8 glasses of water daily and exercising every day are vital for keeping healthy bowel function. People with constipation problems should avoid foods like pastries, sugar, puddings, cheese, cake, and sweets as they can worsen their problem.

Lubiprostone may help ease symptoms but is not a cure for constipation. Keep taking Lubiprostone even if you start to feel well and don't stop taking it without consulting your healthcare provider.

If you've taken excess Lubiprostone, get in touch with your poison control agency or seek emergency medical care right away.

Interactions

Research shows that there's little chance of medications interacting with Lubiprostone.

However, there's some evidence to show that using opioid-type medications like Dolophine (Methadone) may make Lubiprostone less effective.

You may feel dizzy after taking Lubiprostone. Taking alcohol may worsen this effect.

Lubiprostone may interact with other drugs, such as over-the-counter and prescription drugs, herbal products, and vitamins. Tell all your healthcare professionals about all drugs you're using and any drug you begin or stop using.

Warnings

Before you take Lubiprostone:

Tell your pharmacist and doctor if you have allergies to Lubiprostone, any ingredients in Lubiprostone capsules, or any other medications. Tell your pharmacist to give you the list of Lubiprostone ingredients.

Tell your pharmacist and doctor what other medications (nonprescription and prescription), dietary supplements, herbal products, and vitamins you're using or intend to use. Make sure to name any of these:

  • Methadone (Methadose, Dolophine)
  • Medicines for high blood pressure

Your physician may need to adjust your doses of medicines or carefully check you for side effects.

Some severe side effects may occur after taking Lubiprostone, such as shortness of breath. Usually, this side effect doesn't go beyond three hours but may occur again with repeat use.

Fainting, lightheadedness, or dizziness may happen, especially when you suddenly get up from a lying/sitting position. The above symptoms are very likely to develop when you start taking Lubiprostone or if you get dehydrated. It may help to get up slowly. Additionally, lying down for some time may help relieve lightheadedness or dizziness.

Lubiprostone may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or difficulty with breathing. If your conditions and symptoms become worse, or if they don't get better within a matter of days, see your doctor.

The FDA warns that a few patients develop difficulty with breathing (dyspnea) when taking Lubiprostone. When this occurs, patients report problems with taking a breath and chest tightness within half an hour to an hour of having their first dose.

If you've had certain intestinal or stomach problems before, particularly blockages in the bowels or stomach, liver disease, or severe diarrhea, make sure to report them to your doctor before using Lubiprostone.

Also inform your healthcare professional if you've ever had Crohn's disease, gallstones, Hirschsprung's disease, a hernia, polyps, diverticulitis, or impacted bowel movements.

Inform your healthcare professional if you have very serious liver disease or diarrhea.

If you're planning to get pregnant or are pregnant, tell your healthcare professional before you start taking Lubiprostone. Lubiprostone may affect the fetus and should be taken only when the benefits are greater than the risks. Your healthcare professional may help you make a decision if you're planning to get pregnant or if you're already pregnant.

It's not clear whether Lubiprostone gets into human milk, but research indicates that a nursing baby may develop side effects such as diarrhea if the mother is using Lubiprostone. Discuss breastfeeding with your physician before taking Lubiprostone.

Lubiprostone hasn't been approved for use by children.

It's vitally important to have your progress checked regularly by your doctor to ensure that Lubiprostone is working well and to test for adverse effects.

Storage

Keep all drugs out of the sight and reach of children.

Keep Lubiprostone in a dry, cool place, away from direct light and heat. The capsules may absorb moisture, so it's vital to keep them dry in the original container. Don't keep Lubiprostone capsules for more than 4 weeks after opening the container.

Don't use Lubiprostone beyond the expiry date and don't keep medicine you no longer need.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor how you should discard any medicine you don't use.

Summary

Lubiprostone helps treat persistent constipation in adults. The medication also helps relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in women with the main symptom being constipation.

Lubiprostone should be taken with water or milk and food.

It's vitally important to have your doctor check your progress regularly to ensure that Lubiprostone is working fine and to test for undesirable effects.

If the mother uses Lubiprostone while breastfeeding, their baby may develop diarrhea. Let your healthcare professional know if you're nursing an infant, and consult your healthcare professional if your baby suffers diarrhea.

You may experience shortness of breath or chest tightness within an hour after using Lubiprostone. This problem should clear within three hours, but it could happen again when you have your next dose. If this problem becomes troublesome, consult your doctor.

Don't use Lubiprostone if you've got very serious diarrhea. Make sure to contact your healthcare provider for instructions on what to do.

Give your doctor a call if you have ongoing or severe diarrhea. He or she will give you further instructions.

Lubiprostone is only for adult use.

Follow your physician's directions about any limits on activity, drinks, or food while taking Lubiprostone.

Lubiprostone may help improve symptoms but isn't a cure for constipation. Continue taking Lubiprostone even if you start to feel well and don't stop taking it without your healthcare provider's permission.

Lubiprostone may also serve other purposes not covered by this medicine guide. For more information, ask your physician.