Lubiprostone | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

lubiprostone, Oral capsule

All Brands

  • Amitiza
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Highlights for lubiprostone

Oral capsule
1

Lubiprostone is used to treat long-term constipation, and constipation caused by the use of opioids (drugs that relieve pain). It’s also used to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation in women.

2

This drug comes in the form of a capsule you take by mouth.

3

Lubiprostone is available as a brand-name drug called Amitiza. It’s not available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug can include nausea, diarrhea, headache, or gas. They can also include pain and swelling in the abdomen (stomach area).

5

In some cases, lubiprostone may cause shortness of breath soon after you take it. You may have chest tightness and find it hard to take a breath. This feeling should go away within a few hours. 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Diarrhea

This drug can cause diarrhea. If you develop severe diarrhea, stop taking this drug and call your doctor.

Shortness of breath

This drug can cause shortness of breath. You may have chest tightness and find it hard to take a breath. This feeling may occur within 30–60 minutes of taking a dose. The symptoms usually stop within a few hours, but may occur again the next time you take the drug. If your shortness of breath is severe or doesn’t get better within a few hours, call your doctor right away.

Nausea

This drug can cause nausea. Taking it with food lowers your risk of nausea.

What is lubiprostone?

Lubiprostone is a prescription drug. It comes in the form of a capsule you take by mouth.

Lubiprostone is available as a brand-name drug called Amitiza. It’s not available as a generic drug.

Why it's used

Lubiprostone is used to treat long-term constipation, and constipation caused by the use of opioids (drugs that relieve pain). It’s also used to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation in women.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called chloride channel activators. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called chloride channel activators. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug works by increasing the amount of fluid in your bowels (intestines). This helps pass stool, which helps relieve symptoms of constipation.   

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lubiprostone Side Effects

Oral capsule

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects of lubiprostone can include:

  • nausea

  • diarrhea

  • headache

  • gas

  • pain or swelling in your abdomen (stomach area)

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • rash
    • swelling of your throat or tongue
    • trouble breathing
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug doesn’t cause drowsiness. However, it can cause chest tightness and trouble breathing within 30–60 minutes of taking a dose. The symptoms usually stop within a few hours after taking the dose, but may occur again the next time you take the drug. If your shortness of breath is severe or doesn’t get better within a few hours, call your doctor right away.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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lubiprostone May Interact with Other Medications

Oral capsule

Amitiza can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Interactions that can make Amitiza less effective

When Amitiza is used with certain drugs, it may not work as well to treat your condition. This is because the amount of Amitiza in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include:

Methadone. Your doctor may stop your use of methadone. They may prescribe another medication instead.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
bowel obstruction
People with bowel obstruction

Tell your doctor if you have or think you may have any sort of bowel obstruction (blockage in your intestines). Symptoms of bowel obstruction can include pain in your abdomen (stomach area), nausea, vomiting, or not being able to pass gas or have a bowel movement. You should not take this drug if you have a bowel obstruction.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It’s not known if this drug passes into breast milk. It may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

for children
For children

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

call doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • rash
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take lubiprostone (Dosage)

Oral capsule

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Long-term constipation

Brand: Amitiza

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 8 mcg, 24 mcg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical starting dosage: 24 mcg, taken twice per day with food and water.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Liver disease: If you have liver disease, your doctor may start you at a lower dosage. They may prescribe 8 mcg twice per day, or 16 mcg twice per day.

Constipation caused by opioid use

Brand: Amitiza

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 8 mcg, 24 mcg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical starting dosage: 24 mcg, taken twice per day with food and water.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Liver disease: If you have liver disease, your doctor may start you at a lower dosage. They may prescribe 8 mcg twice per day, or 16 mcg twice per day.

Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation in women

Brand: Amitiza

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 8 mcg, 24 mcg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical starting dosage: 8 mcg, taken twice per day with food and water.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Liver disease: If you have liver disease, your doctor may start you at a lower dosage. They may prescribe 8 mcg once per day.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your constipation may not improve or your symptoms may get worse. Symptoms can include few bowel movements, trouble having a bowel movement, or feeling a blockage in your rectum. They can also include hard or small stools, or stomach pain and swelling. 

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. You may have side effects such as:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting or dry heaving (vomiting when no food comes up)
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • stomach pain
  • flushing (sudden reddening and warming of your face)

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away. 

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms of constipation should improve.

This drug is used for short-term or long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug
take with food
Take this drug with food. This may help to reduce upset stomach.
timing
Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
storage
Store this drug carefully
See Details
refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
See Details
not every pharmacy stocks this drug
Not every pharmacy stocks every form of this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.
insurance
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store this drug at 77°F (25°C). It can be stored for short times at temperatures between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Insurance

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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How Much Does lubiprostone Cost?

Oral capsule

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Lowest price for lubiprostone

Kroger Pharmacy $337.94
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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for lubiprostone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on January 5, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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