How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Linaclotide belongs to the class of medications called guanylate cyclase-C agnists.

It is used to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and to treat chronic (long-term) constipation. Linaclotide works by increasing fluid in the digestive tract. This causes softening of the stools, increased speed of food and waste travelling through the digestive system, and increased frequency of bowel movements. It also helps reduce the discomfort that often occurs with long-term constipation by reducing the sensitivity of the pain-sensing nerves in the digestive system.

Symptoms often begin to improve within a week of starting to take this medication, but it can take longer.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

145 µg
Each white-to-off-white, opaque, hard gelatin capsule, imprinted "FL 145" in grey and filled with linaclotide-coated beads, contains linaclotide 145 µg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: calcium chloride dihydrate, gelatin, hypromellose, iron oxide black, iron oxide yellow, L-leucine, microcrystalline cellulose, shellac glaze, and titanium dioxide.

290 µg
Each white-to-off-white, opaque, hard gelatin capsule, "FL 290" in grey and filled with linaclotide-coated beads, contains linaclotide 290µg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: calcium chloride dihydrate, gelatin, hypromellose, iron oxide black, iron oxide yellow, L-leucine, microcrystalline cellulose, shellac glaze, and titanium dioxide.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended adult dose of linaclotide to treat symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation is 290 µg taken once a day.

The recommended adult dose of linaclotide for chronic constipation is 145 µg taken once daily.

This medication should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before the first meal of the day. Do not crush or chew the capsules. Swallow the capsules whole with some water.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, in its original package. Protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take linaclotide if you:

  • are allergic to linaclotide or any ingredients of the medication
  • have or may have a blockage in the digestive tract

Do not give this medication to children less than 6 years of age.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • bloating (swelling or feeling of fullness in your abdomen)
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • passing gas
  • vomiting

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • abdominal pain

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • new or worsening abdominal pain
  • severe diarrhea (persistent watery stools)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Diarrhea: The most common side effect of this medication is diarrhea. If you develop severe, watery diarrhea, it may lead to dehydration, which can quickly become a medical emergency. If you experience severe diarrhea, stop taking this medication and contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if linaclotide passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children. Children may be more likely to develop diarrhea and its potentially serious effects. This medication should not be given to children under the age of 6 years and it is not recommended for use in children and adolescents between 6 and 18 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.