Amitiza (lubiprostone) is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s used to treat three types of constipation in adults:

Amitiza is a type of drug called a chloride channel activator. It’s not a stool softener, a type of fiber, or a traditional laxative. However, it does bring on the same effects that these other treatments cause. It increases fluid in your intestines, which helps pass stool.

Amitiza comes as an oral capsule you take with food and water. It’s typically taken twice a day. You should take it for as long as your doctor recommends.

Effectiveness

Clinical studies have shown Amitiza to be effective in treating all three types of constipation it’s prescribed for:

  • Chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC): In clinical studies, about 57 percent to 63 percent of people who took Amitiza had bowel movements within the first day of taking the medication.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C): In two different clinical studies, women with IBS-C who took Amitiza had improved symptoms, including reduced pain and discomfort in their abdomen. Between 12 percent and 14 percent of women taking Amitiza responded to treatment. This means they had a significant improvement in their symptoms, and didn’t need to take laxatives or other drugs to treat their constipation.
  • Opioid-induced constipation (OIC): Clinical studies of people with OIC showed that those taking Amitiza had an improvement in their number of bowel movements. Between 13 percent and 27 percent of people taking Amitiza responded to treatment. This means they had at least three bowel movements per week, and one more bowel movement per week than before taking the drug.

Amitiza is only available as a brand-name medication. It contains the drug lubiprostone, which is not currently available in generic form.

Amitiza can cause mild or serious side effects. The following list contains some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Amitiza. This list doesn’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Amitiza or tips on how to deal with a troubling side effect, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Amitiza can include:

Most of these side effects 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

Serious side effects from Amitiza aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 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 reaction. Symptoms can include:
    • itching or hives
    • swelling in your face or hands
    • swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat
    • chest tightness
    • trouble breathing
  • Severe gastrointestinal upset. Symptoms can include:
    • diarrhea
    • pain or swelling in your belly
    • nausea or vomiting
  • Low blood pressure. Symptoms can include:

Weight loss/weight gain

You’re unlikely to have weight changes when using Amitiza. Weight gain did occur in studies of Amitiza use, but it was rare.

In clinical studies, weight loss was not a side effect that people experienced while taking Amitiza. However, a small number of people did gain weight. Less than 1 percent of people with irritable bowel syndrome taking Amitiza for constipation experienced weight gain.

Studies of people with chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) or opioid-induced constipation (OIC) didn’t show weight gain as a side effect.

Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite is also unlikely when you’re taking Amitiza.

In clinical studies of people receiving Amitiza twice daily, less than 1 percent had decreased appetite.

Nausea

Nausea is a common side effect of Amitiza. In clinical studies, from 8 percent to 29 percent of people taking the drug experienced nausea. Rates depended on the type of constipation and the drug dosage. Rates of nausea were lower in both males and older adults.

If you feel nauseated while taking Amitiza, try eating a snack or meal at the time you take the medication. Food may help reduce the feeling of nausea. If you have severe nausea while taking Amitiza, talk with your doctor.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common side effect of Amitiza.

In clinical studies, from 7 percent to 12 percent of people taking Amitiza experienced diarrhea. And 2 percent of people taking the drug experienced severe diarrhea.

Electrolytes

Changes in levels of electrolytes (minerals involved in essential body functions) aren’t a side effect that’s been associated with Amitiza.

In clinical studies, people taking Amitiza didn’t report any symptoms of electrolyte imbalance. Also, blood tests showed no changes in their electrolyte levels.

Headache

Amitiza use has been linked with headaches.

In clinical studies, 11 percent of people taking Amitiza for chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) experienced headaches. But only 2 percent of people taking Amitiza for opioid-induced constipation reported having headaches. Headaches weren’t reported in people using Amitiza for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C).

Depression

Depression isn’t typically associated with use of Amitiza.

In a clinical trial, depression was seen in less than 1 percent of people with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. And symptoms of depression weren’t reported in clinical trials of people taking Amitiza for chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) or for opioid-induced constipation (OIC).

Amitiza may make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. If you have these symptoms, be sure to move slowly when you stand or sit up. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded is more likely to occur when you first begin to use Amitiza, or if you become dehydrated while taking it.

The Amitiza dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Amitiza to treat
  • other medical conditions you may have
  • your age

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage and adjust it over time to reach the dosage that’s right for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Amitiza comes as a capsule you take by mouth. It’s available in two strengths: 8 mcg and 24 mcg. The maximum recommended dosage is 48 mcg per day.

Dosage for chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) and opioid-induced constipation (OIC)

The typical dosage recommended for adults is 24 mcg twice daily. Don’t take more than what is instructed by your doctor.

If you have liver damage, your doctor may prescribe a reduced dosage of 16 mcg twice daily or 8 mcg twice daily.

Dosage for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C)

The recommended adult dosage is 8 mcg twice daily.

If you have severe liver damage, your doctor may prescribe 8 mcg once daily.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember.

But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time. Don’t take extra medication to make up for a dose you missed.

As with all medications, the cost of Amitiza can vary. To find current prices for Amitiza in your area, check out GoodRx.com:

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay will depend on your insurance coverage, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Financial assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Amitiza, help is available.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc, the manufacturer of Amitiza, offers an Amitiza Savings Card. This card offers savings for eligible people with commercial insurance. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for the card, visit the program website.

Takeda also offers a financial assistance program called Help at Hand. For information, visit the program website or call 800-830-9159.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves drugs such as Amitiza for certain purposes.

Approved uses for Amitiza

Amitiza is approved to treat three types of constipation.

Amitiza for chronic idiopathic constipation

Amitiza is approved to treat chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in adults. “Idiopathic” means that the exact reason you are constipated isn’t known.

In clinical studies of Amitiza, the medication was found to provide rapid relief from CIC.

About 57 percent to 63 percent of people who took Amitiza experienced bowel movements within the first 24 hours of taking the medication. Among those taking a placebo (no medication), 32 percent to 37 percent had a bowel movement. Also, the time to having the first bowel movement was shorter for people taking Amitiza.

Amitiza for IBS-C

Amitiza is also approved to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). This condition is a form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in which pain in your belly is associated with constipation.

In two different clinical studies, Amitiza improved overall symptoms of IBS-C, such as abdominal pain and discomfort.

About 14 percent of people in one study responded to Amitiza, while only 8 percent responded to placebo (no medication). This means they had a significant improvement in their symptoms, and didn’t need to take laxatives or other drugs to treat their constipation. In another study, 12 percent of people taking Amitiza responded, compared to just 6 percent in the placebo group.

Amitiza for OIC

Amitiza is also approved to treat opioid-induced constipation (OIC). This type of constipation is caused when people take opioids, which are medications prescribed to help treat pain. Amitiza is only approved for people who are taking opioids for long-lasting pain that’s not related to cancer.

Three 12-week clinical studies looked at Amitiza use in people with OIC. Of these people, between 13 percent and 27 percent had increased bowel movements when taking Amitiza. About 13 percent to 19 percent of people taking placebo (no medication) had the same result.

Uses that aren’t approved for Amitiza

You may wonder whether Amitiza can be used to treat other conditions. Constipation is the only condition it’s approved to treat.

Amitiza for gastroparesis

Amitiza is not approved for treating gastroparesis. With this condition, your stomach is unable to move food into your small intestine.

Like constipation, gastroparesis slows or stops normal digestion. And constipation can be a symptom of gastroparesis. However, Amitiza has not been studied in people with gastroparesis. This mean we don’t know whether the drug can relieve gastroparesis.

If you have gastroparesis, talk with your doctor about treatment options that could help provide relief.

Amitiza for children

Amitiza isn’t approved for use in children. This is because it hasn’t been found to be either safe or effective for treating constipation in children.

In a clinical study of children ages 6 to 17 years, Amitiza wasn’t found to be effective in treating constipation.

If your child shows signs of constipation, talk with their doctor about medications or other treatments that could help relieve it.

Amitiza isn’t classified as a fiber or a traditional laxative. However, it does cause the same effects that these other treatments cause. It increases fluid levels in your intestines, which helps to pass stool.

Amitiza is a type of drug called a chloride channel activator. Chloride channels are found in most cells throughout your body. They’re proteins that transport certain molecules across cell membranes.

In your gastrointestinal tract, these channels play an important role in transporting fluid. Amitiza activates these channels, which increases the amount of fluid in your intestines. The increased fluid helps your body to pass stool.

Other drugs are available that can treat different types of constipation. Some may be better suited for you than others. If you’d like to find an alternative to Amitiza, talk with your doctor to learn more about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat constipation.

Alternatives for opioid-induced constipation (OIC)

Other drugs that can be used to treat OIC fall into five main groups.

Stool softeners

These drugs allow water and fats to enter the stool, which makes it easier to pass. Examples of stool softeners include:

  • docusate (Colace, Col-Rite, Doc-Q-Lace, Docusoft-S, Phillips Liqui-Gels, Silace, Surfak, others)

Stimulant laxatives

These drugs help stimulate constriction (tightening) and relaxation of the muscles of your intestines. This action helps move stool through the intestines.

Examples of stimulant laxatives include:

  • bisacodyl (Ducodyl, Dulcolax, Fleet Bisacodyl, GoodSense Bisacodyl EC)
  • senna (Ex-Lax, Geri-kot, GoodSense Laxative Pills, Senekot, SennaCon, Senna Lax)

Osmotic laxatives

These drugs work by drawing more water into your intestines. This helps to soften the stool and make it easier to pass.

Examples of osmotic laxatives include:

  • polyethylene glycol (GlycoLax, MiraLAX)
  • lactulose (Constulose, Enulose, Generlac, Kristalose)
  • sorbitol
  • magnesium sulfate
  • magnesium citrate
  • glycerin

Lubricants

These drugs work by keeping water inside the intestines and the stool. This makes the stool softer so it’s easier to pass.

Examples of lubricants include:

  • mineral oil (Fleet Oil, GoodSense Mineral Oil)

Peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor agonists (PAMORAs)

Opioids slow down your gastrointestinal tract and reduce fluid in your bowels. These effects can cause constipation. PAMORAs work by blocking the effects of opioids in certain parts of the body, including the gastrointestinal tract. This decreases constipation that’s caused by opioid use, without affecting pain relief.

Examples of PAMORAs include:

  • methylnaltrexone (Relistor)
  • naloxegol (Movantik)
  • naldemidine (Symproic)

Alternatives for chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC)

Other drugs that can be used to treat CIC belong to four main groups.

Selective serotonin-4 (5-HT4) receptor agonists

Normally, your intestines move food through them by constricting (tightening) and relaxing the muscles in the walls of the intestines. When this activity slows down, constipation can occur.

Selective serotonin-4 (5-HT4) receptor agonists work by stimulating this action in your intestines. An example of this drug is:

  • prucalopride (Motegrity)

Guanylate cyclase-C agonists

These medications work by increasing the amount of water in your intestines. This softens the stool, which helps it move through your intestines. These drugs work similarly to Amitiza, but they act on a different kind of protein.

Examples of guanylate cyclase-C agonists include:

  • plecanatide (Trulance)
  • linaclotide (Linzess)

Osmotic laxatives

These drugs work by drawing more water into your intestines. This helps to soften stool and make it easier to pass.

Examples of osmotic agents include:

  • polyethylene glycol (GlycoLax, MiraLAX)
  • lactulose (Constulose, Enulose, Generlac, Kristalose)

Stimulant laxatives

Like selective serotonin-4 (5-HT4) receptor agonists (above), stimulant laxatives work by stimulating the muscles in your intestines. The laxatives cause the muscles to constrict and relax, which moves stool through your intestines.

Examples of stimulant laxatives include:

  • bisacodyl (Ducodyl, Dulcolax, Fleet Bisacodyl, GoodSense Bisacodyl EC)
  • sodium picosulfate
  • senna (Ex-Lax, Geri-kot, GoodSense Laxative Pills, Senekot, SennaCon, Senna Lax)

Alternatives for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C)

Other drugs that can be used to treat IBS-C fall into five main groups.

Bulking agents

These drugs work by absorbing water in your intestines and then swelling up. This increases the amount of stool, which stimulates your bowels to move. Examples of bulking agents include:

  • psyllium (Metamucil, Laxmar, Genfiber, Fiberall)
  • methylcellulose (Citrucel, GoodSense Fiber)
  • calcium polycarbophil (FiberCon)

Stool softeners

These drugs allow water and fats to enter the stool, which makes it easier to pass. Examples of surfactants include:

  • docusate (Colace, Col-Rite, Doc-Q-Lace, Docusoft-S, Phillips Liqui-Gels, Silace)

Osmotic laxatives

These drugs work by increasing the amount of water in your intestines. This helps to soften the stool and make it easier to pass. Examples of osmotic agents include:

  • milk of magnesia (Pedia-Lax, Phillips)
  • magnesium citrate
  • magnesium sulfate
  • sodium picosulfate/magnesium citrate (PicoPrep)
  • lactulose/lactitol
  • sorbitol

Stimulant laxatives

Stimulant laxatives work by stimulating the muscles in your intestines. The laxatives cause the muscles to constrict and relax, which moves stool through your intestines.

Examples of stimulant laxatives include:

  • bisacodyl (Ducodyl, Dulcolax, Fleet Bisacodyl, GoodSense Bisacodyl EC)
  • sodium picosulfate
  • senna (Ex-Lax, Geri-kot, GoodSense Laxative Pills, Senekot, SennaCon, Senna Lax)

Guanylate cyclase-C agonists

These medications work by increasing the amount of water in your intestines. This softens the stool, which helps it move through your intestines. These drugs work similarly to Amitiza, but they act on a different kind of protein.

Examples of guanylate cyclase-C agonists include:

  • plecanatide (Trulance)
  • linaclotide (Linzess)

You may wonder how Amitiza compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Below are comparisons between Amitiza and several medications.

Amitiza vs. Linzess

Amitiza contains lubiprostone, which is a chloride channel activator. Chloride channels are proteins that transport certain molecules across cell membranes. By activating chloride channels in your intestine, Amitiza increases the amount of fluid that flows into your intestine. This helps you pass stool more easily.

Linzess contains linaclotide, which is a guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C) agonist. Although it’s a different type of drug that works differently than Amitiza, Linzess also increases the amount of water in your intestines. This softens stool and makes it easier to pass.

Uses

Both Amitiza and Linzess are approved to treat chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). They’re also both approved to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), but Amitiza is only approved for use in women at least 18 years of age. Amitiza is also approved to treat opioid-induced constipation in adults.

Drug forms and administration

Amitiza and Linzess both come as oral capsules. Linzess is taken once a day, while Amitiza is typically taken twice a day.

Side effects and risks

Amitiza and Linzess can cause similar common and severe side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Amitiza, with Linzess, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Amitiza:
    • headache
    • nausea
    • dizziness
  • Can occur with Linzess:
    • no unique common side effects
  • Can occur with both Amitiza and Linzess:
    • diarrhea
    • gas
    • pain or pressure in your stomach area

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Amitiza, with Linzess, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Amitiza:
    • low blood pressure
    • fainting
  • Can occur with Linzess:
    • blood in your stool (stool that looks like tar)
    • severe pain in your stomach area
    • severe dehydration in children under 6 years*
  • Can occur with both Amitiza and Linzess:
    • severe diarrhea
    • serious allergic reaction
* Linzess has a boxed warning from the FDA. A boxed warning is the strongest kind of warning the FDA requires. The warning states that Linzess should not be used in children younger than 6 years due to a risk of serious dehydration. Use of Linzess in children ages 6 to 18 should also be avoided because the drug’s safety and effectiveness in these children has not been studied.

Effectiveness

Amitiza and Linzess haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies. However, they have been studied separately.

Studies have found both Amitiza and Linzess to be effective for treating both IBS-C and CIC.

Costs

Amitiza and Linzess are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms available of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates from GoodRx.com, Amitiza usually costs less than Linzess. The actual price you would pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Amitiza vs. Movantik

Amitiza contains the drug lubiprostone, while Movantik contains the drug naloxegol. These drugs are used for similar reasons, but they work differently in the body.

Uses

Both Amitiza and Movantik are approved to treat opioid-induced constipation in adults with chronic pain that’s not related to cancer. Amitiza is also approved to treat adults with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, and adults with chronic idiopathic constipation.

Drug forms and administration

Amitiza comes as oral capsules. It’s typically taken twice a day. Movantik comes as oral tablets. It’s taken by mouth once a day.

Side effects and risks

Amitiza and Movantik can cause similar common and severe side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Amitiza, with Movantik, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Amitiza:
    • dizziness
  • Can occur with Movantik:
    • increased sweating
  • Can occur with both Amitiza and Movantik:
    • stomach pain
    • diarrhea
    • nausea
    • gas
    • vomiting
    • headache

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Amitiza, with Movantik, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Amitiza:
    • low blood pressure
    • fainting
  • Can occur with Movantik:
    • severe pain in your abdomen
  • Can occur with both Amitiza and Movantik:
    • severe diarrhea
    • serious allergic reaction

Effectiveness

Amitiza and Movantik have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat opioid-induced constipation (OIC) in adults.

The effectiveness of these drugs hasn’t been directly compared in clinical studies. However, separate studies of Amitiza and Movantik have shown that both are effective for treating OIC.

Costs

Amitiza and Movantik are both brand-name drugs. There are currently no generic forms available of either drug. Brand-name medications usually cost more than generics.

According to estimates from GoodRx.com, Amitiza usually costs less than Movantik. The actual price you would pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

You should take Amitiza according to your doctor or healthcare provider’s instructions.

How to take

Swallow the Amitiza capsule whole. Don’t chew or break apart the capsule.

When to take

Amitiza is typically taken either once in the morning and once in the evening, or once daily. Your doctor will tell you how often you should take it and when.

Taking Amitiza with food

Take Amitiza with food and a full glass of water. Taking Amitiza with a small meal can help lessen the risk of nausea, which can be a common side effect.

Can Amitiza be crushed?

Amitiza capsules shouldn’t be crushed, broken, or chewed. Be sure to swallow the capsule whole.

There are no known interactions between alcohol and Amitiza. However, taking Amitiza can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Drinking alcohol can also cause these effects, so taking them together could make these effects worse.

If dizziness is a problem for you while taking Amitiza, it may be best to avoid alcohol. If you have trouble avoiding alcohol and it causes you to feel dizzy or lightheaded, talk with your doctor.

Most drugs can interact with other medications. Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some can interfere with how well a drug works, while others can cause increased side effects.

Amitiza and other medications

Before taking Amitiza, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Below are examples of medications that can interact with Amitiza. This list doesn’t contain all drugs that may interact with Amitiza.

Amitiza and high blood pressure medications

Taking Amitiza with drugs to treat high blood pressure could raise your risk of fainting or low blood pressure. If you take medication to help lower your blood pressure, tell your doctor before you start taking Amitiza.

Amitiza and anti-diarrheal medications

Taking Amitiza with drugs used to treat diarrhea can make Amitiza less effective. If you have diarrhea while taking Amitiza, don’t try to treat the diarrhea yourself. Instead, talk with your doctor. They may decide that you need a lower dose of Amitiza, or that you should stop taking the drug.

Examples of anti-diarrheal drugs include:

Amitiza and MiraLAX

If Amitiza doesn’t provide enough relief for your constipation, you can take it with MiraLAX. There is no known interaction between Amitiza and MiraLAX. They’re generally safe to take together.

This combination does have a small risk of side effects. A clinical study looked at the off-label use of Amitiza with MiraLAX as a bowel cleansing treatment before a colonoscopy. In the study:

  • about 4 percent of people had stomach cramps
  • less than 2 percent of people had nausea
  • less than 1 percent of people had bloating

Before using these drugs together, let your doctor or pharmacist know you would like to add MiraLAX to your treatment plan.

Amitiza and methadone

In lab tests, methadone (an opioid pain medication) has been shown to decrease the actions of chloride channels. Chloride channels are proteins that transport certain molecules across cell membranes.

This effect may prevent Amitiza from working well. This is because Amitiza works by activating these same chloride channels, which helps increase fluid levels in your intestines. The increased fluid helps pass stool through the intestines.

Tell your doctor if you’re taking methadone. Your doctor may choose a different medication instead of Amitiza to help treat your constipation.

Amitiza belongs to a class of drugs called chloride channel activators. Chloride channels are found throughout your body in nearly every type of cell. They’re proteins that transport certain molecules across cell membranes.

Amitiza activates (increases the activity of) these chloride channels in your intestine. This action increases the amount of fluid that flows into your intestine. This increased fluid allows stool to pass more easily through your system, helping to relieve constipation.

How long does it take to work?

Amitiza begins to work quickly. For instance, a clinical study looked at use of Amitiza in adults with chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). About 57 percent of the people studied had a bowel movement within 24 hours of taking the medication. In the group who received a placebo (no medication), that effect was found in only 37 percent of people.

Within 48 hours of treatment, 80 percent of the people who had taken Amitiza had a bowel movement. Only 61 percent of people in the placebo group had the same result.

Not enough research has been done to know if Amitiza is safe for use during pregnancy. In animal studies, Amitiza was shown to harm the fetus. However, animal studies don’t always predict what would happen in humans.

If you’re pregnant or become pregnant while being treated with Amitiza, talk with your doctor. Together you can evaluate the benefits and risks of using Amitiza during your pregnancy.

It isn’t known if Amitiza passes into breast milk, or what its effects might be on your body’s milk production. In animal studies, Amitiza was not found in the milk of lactating animals. But animal studies don’t always reflect the effects that could occur in humans.

Talk with your doctor about whether Amitiza use is a good idea for you while you breastfeed. And if you decide to breastfeed your child while taking Amitiza, watch for signs of diarrhea. Amitiza could cause diarrhea in a child who is breastfed. If your child develops diarrhea, stop breastfeeding and call your doctor.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Amitiza.

Can Amitiza be used for males?

Amitiza is approved for treating three types of constipation in adults. For two of these types, it can be used in males. These types are chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) and constipation caused by opioid medication in people with chronic pain that’s not caused by active cancer.

However, the third type of constipation that Amitiza is approved to treat can’t be used in males. This type is irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C).

The reason for this difference is that there hasn’t been enough research done on Amitiza use in males with IBS-C. In clinical studies, only 8 percent of the people with IBS-C who were studied were male. Because the male population in the studies was so low, we don’t have enough evidence to determine whether men with IBS-C respond differently to Amitiza than women do.

Will I have withdrawal symptoms when I stop taking Amitiza?

No, you likely won’t have withdrawal symptoms when stopping Amitiza. No such symptoms were seen in a clinical study in which people stopped their treatment with the drug.

Is Amitiza a controlled substance?

No, Amitiza isn’t a controlled substance. A controlled substance is a drug that’s regulated by the government due to its potential to be misused.

However, Amitiza is a medication that requires a prescription from your doctor.

Before taking Amitiza, talk with your doctor about your health history. Amitiza may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions. These include:

  • Bowel blockage. If you have a bowel obstruction, you shouldn’t use Amitiza.If you’re not sure if you have one, ask your doctor to examine you before you start treatment with Amitiza.
  • Severe diarrhea. Taking Amitiza can make severe diarrhea worse. If you have severe diarrhea, you should avoid taking this drug.
  • History of allergy to Amitiza or any of its ingredients. If you’re allergic to Amitiza or have had a reaction in the past, you shouldn’t use Amitiza. If you have such an allergy, talk with your doctor about other treatment options for your constipation.

Taking too much Amitiza can increase your risk of severe side effects.

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • stomach ache
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your face or neck)
  • dry heaves (retching)
  • trouble breathing
  • chest tightness
  • fainting

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or seek guidance from the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or through their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When Amitiza is dispensed from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically one year from the date the medication was dispensed.

The purpose of such expiration dates is to guarantee the effectiveness of the medication during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications.

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where the medication is stored. Amitiza capsules should be stored at room temperature at around 77°F (25°C). Store them in a dry location in a tightly sealed and light-resistant container. Don’t store medications in your bathroom.

If you have unused medication that has gone past its expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Mechanism of action

Amitiza is a chloride channel (CIC) activator that increases secretion of intestinal fluid, which helps improve fecal transit. The CIC-2 receptor is activated by Amitiza. The increase of fluid that contains chloride helps to increase motility and allows for the passage of stool through the intestine.

The antisecretory effects of opiates are bypassed and concentrations of sodium and potassium in the serum are unaffected. Amitiza is also seen to trigger the recovery of the mucosal barrier function and decreased permeability of the intestines through the restoration of tight junctions.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Concentrations of Amitiza in the plasma are below the level of accurate counting. Therefore, the half-life and maximum concentrations cannot be reliably calculated. However, the pharmacokinetics of M3, which is the only active metabolite of Amitiza that can be measured, has been calculated.

After oral administration, maximum concentration of M3 occurs within one hour. Administration with a high-fat meal may reduce the maximum concentration. However, Amitiza was taken with food and water in majority of clinical trials.

The half-life of M3, which is the only active metabolite of Amitiza that can be measured, was approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.

It’s believed that Amitiza is rapidly metabolized in the stomach and jejunum.

Contraindications

Amitiza is contraindicated in people who have had an allergic reaction to it in the past, and in people who have had stomach or bowel blockage.

Storage

Amitiza should be stored at room temperature at about 77°F (25°C).

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