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Prevent & Treat 3 Types of Constipation with Amitiza

By Miriatu

Amitiza is a medicine produced for the treatment of constipation. It contains an active element, Lubiprostone which is approved for the treatment of three different types of constipation. Constipation is the inability of food to digest or difficulty of food to be eliminated from the intestine. Constipation is said to be the root cause of many other sicknesses including heart attack, high and low blood pressure, kidney and liver diseases, and stomach ulcer. Thus, it’s important that those who are suffering with constipation be handled with care and treated with some sort of effectiveness. Once a food is taken in, it is required to be digested and later sent out of the stomach. But in people with digestive problem, this flow is obstructed and the food is not easily sent out. People who have such digestive problem may be given Amitiza. Amitiza or Lubiprostone when taken helps to soften the content of the stomach such that it can easily be eliminated from the intestine. The three types of constipation that Amitiza has been used to prevent or treat consists of:

  • Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC): This type of constipation that usually occurs in adults. Idiopathic is the term used to describe a disease whose cause remains unknown.
  • Opioids Induced Constipation (OIC): This type of constipation is seen in adults with chronic or narcotic pain medications but non-cancer pain.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C): This type of constipation is seen in women who are older than 18 years.

Amitiza is manufactured to be used by people who are 18 years of age and older and should not be given to younger patients. However, the recommended dosage of Amitiza for the various types of constipation depends on various different factors such as the severity and age of the subject. For Chronic Idiopathic Constipation, the recommended dosage is a 24 mcg of Amitiza following a two times daily regimen or drug schedule (usually taken in the morning and evening). This dosage regimen is also same for patients with Opioids-induced Constipation. For Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation, the recommended dose is an 8 mcg Amitiza taken following a two times daily regimen. In order to reduce the effect of some of the side effects that may occur due to the intake of this medication, always take it with a meal and water or juice. You should always consult your doctor for all the advice about the use of Amitiza and before taking this medication, make sure you inform your doctor about your entire various health crises you ever had in your life and all the drugs you ever taken and those you may be taking.

Functioning and Effectiveness of Amitiza

Amitiza is the brand name for the medicine Lubiprostone. This is a prescriptive medication or a medicine used in the hospital, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006, for the prevention and treatment of symptoms from 3 different types of constipation consisting of Chronic Idiopathic Constipation (CIC), Opioids Induced Constipation (OIC) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C). It works by softening the content of the intestine. This is achieved by allowing increased flow of fluid into the intestine, which intends relieve abdominal discomfort and bloating, and allows for easy and painless passing out the content of the intestine. Once this occurred, the content of the stomach softens and thus easily eliminated from the stomach. Some subjects taking this medication have been said to develop dyspnea, which is known as difficulty in breathing, chest tightening and shortness of breath. This is the most common side effect of Amitiza which usually appear after 1 hour the first time they take this drug and disappear some 3 hours later. Some people, especially those with some other type of gastrointestinal or digestive disorder, including severe diarrhea, blockage in the bowels or stomach, or hepatic disease should not take this medicine unless their health care provider dim it safe. This is because, Amtiza intake may only increase the severity of these symptoms and in some cases may be fatal. People who have a history to have been diagnosed with either Crohn’s disease, gallstones, Hirschsprung’s disease, polyps, diverticulitis, hernia or impacted bowel movement should make sure they inform their doctor before they ever start taking this drug. Amitiza is supply or distributed as an oval, gelatin capsule containing either 8 mcg or 24 mcg of lubiprostone. The 8 mcg comes as pink colored capsules that has “SPI” boldly printed on one of its sides while the 24 mcg comes as orange colored capsules that has “SPI” boldly printed on one of its sides

Important information

While Amitiza is effective in relieving symptoms of chronic constipation, if you use it the wrong way, you may be sure to have some of the worst reactions which often times can be fatal. Therefore, we advise people with history of or are having severe diarrhea to stay away from this Amitiza. Breastfeeding women should apply caution while taking this medicine as it can cause severe diarrhea to the breastfed baby. If the child developed diarrhea, report it promptly to your health care provider.

For maximum benefit from this drug, you should follow the advice and prescription given by your healthcare provider strictly. Your doctor is well placed to determine how you should take this drug. However, this medicine is usually taken following a two times daily regimen. You should not reduce or increase the dosage of Amitiza given to you nor should you take it for a longer than the prescribed period.

Before you start taking this drug, you should carefully read through the instruction that comes with this medicine. You should take this medicine with either food or milk and drink one glass of water after you take it. You are not allowed to chew, grind, or open the capsule but to take if whole as it’s distributed. Some patients may have shortness of breath or tightness in the chest, 1 hour following the administration of this drug. This effect should normally disappear after 3 hours. If this side effect is recurrent, that is if it occurs each time you take this medication, you should report it to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. 

People suffering from intestinal blockage or severe diarrhea should stay away from Amitiza. Before anyone should be given this drug, the health care provider must examine them for other causes of constipation such as the type and time of food consume. You should also inform your doctor if you are pregnant or suffered any problem with your digestive system or if you have a history of the following diseases:

  • gallstones;
  • impacted bowel movement;
  • Crohn's disease;
  • liver disease
  •  diverticulitis, polyps
  • Hirschsprung's disease;
  • hernia.

 In the event that you miss a dose of Amitiza, you should take it immediately you recall it. However, if the time you recall is closed to the time of the next scheduled dose, keep out the missed dose and move on with your normal schedule. You should never double dose or take an extra dose of Amitiza to compensate for the missed dose.

Uses of Amitiza

The uses of Amitiza include the prevention and treatment of different gastrointestinal disorder such as constipation discussed above.

Drugs may at times be used for purposes for which it was not prescribed. You should not share this drug with family or friends, even if they have the same symptoms as you. Don’t take this drug for any purpose unless indicated by your healthcare provider.

The uses of Amitiza may also include other diseases or purposes which have not been included in this article. You should always talk with your healthcare provider about the various uses of Amitiza.

Side Effects of Amitiza

Amitiza is indicated for the prevention and treatment of constipation. However, there are some adverse reactions that have been associated with Amitiza intake. These Amitiza side effects have been said to occur at the normal dosage of Amitiza. Some of these effects are said to be more common and mild than others why they are said to be rare and severe.

Minor Side Effects Amitiza

These are Amitiza side effects that are more frequent with subjects taking it. They usually appear at the onset of administration of the drug but subsides as the body becomes used to the drug. Some of these side effects will disappear following the discontinuation of Amitiza intake. However, some may remain and such will need the intervention or help of a medical doctor. Your healthcare provider or pharmacist may be able to help you reduce or prevent the incidence of these effects. If any of these side effects persist, you should tell your health care provider. Here is a list of some of the common side effects of Amitiza.

  • Diarrhea
  • flatulence
  • passing gas
  • Headache
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • stomach upset
  • swollen joints
  • abdominal pain
  • Much gas in the stomach or intestines
  • fear or nervousness
  • feeling sad or empty
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • heartburn
  • increased weight
  • indigestion
  • irritability
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • unusual tiredness, or feeling of sluggishness

 

  • vomiting
  • Nausea
  • sinusitis
  • loss of taste
  • lower back or side pain
  • muscle cramps
  • urinary tract infection
  • peripheral edema
  • dizziness
  • abdominal distention
  • acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bladder pain
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • change in taste
  • cold sweats
  • difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • difficulty with moving
  • discouragement
  • muscle stiffness
  • sore throat

Major Side Effects Amitiza

Like the word goes, these are some of the serious side effects of Amitiza. Some are still more common than others. However, some can be fatal. You are recommended to call your healthcare provider immediately you suspect or notice any of the following Amitiza side effects.

  • blood in the stools
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • severe diarrhea
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • swollen joints
  • swelling
  • full or bloated feeling or pressure in the stomach
  • stomach upset
  • black, tarry stools
  • hives or skin rash
  • Abdominal or stomach discomfort
  • vomiting
  • severe nausea
  • tightness in the chest
  • stomach pain
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • change in taste
  • cold sweats
  • difficult, burning, or painful urination
  • difficulty with moving
  • discouragement
  • dizziness
  • fear or nervousness
  • feeling sad or empty
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • heartburn
  • increased weight
  • indigestion
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • loss of taste
  • sore throat
  • sweating
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • shivering
  • Abdominal or stomach tenderness
  • joint pain
  • confusion
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • trouble sleeping
  • fainting
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • loss of appetite
  • swelling of the abdominal or stomach area
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • chest discomfort or pain
  • chills
  • bladder pain
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • increased sweating
  • unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, or feeling of sluggishness
  • fever
  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • cough
  • loss of bowel control
  • blurred vision
  • muscle cramps
  • muscle stiffness
  • sore throat
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • lower back or side pain
  • runny nose
  • irritability
  • muscle aches and pains

 

Note here that, this may not be a complete list of all the possible Amitiza side effects. You should talk to your health care provider should you experience any unfavorable effects while taking Amitiza. If in any doubt, always refer to your pharmacist or doctor. They are in the right position to give you the necessary information about this drug. Never take any medicine if you are in doubts.

Half-life of Amitiza

Lubiprostone has an evidently low systematic concentration which is difficult to determine. However, its metabolite, M3, which could be determined, was used. After Amitiza administration, Lubiprostone reaches the maximum amount in the plasma in about an hour. Its half-life (the time for its maximum plasma concentration in the blood to drop by half) is about 0.9 – 1.4 hours. This allows Amitiza to be administered following a twice daily dosage regimen.

Over Dosage of Amitiza

We recommend you to strictly follow your doctor’s prescription and refer to him in case you are in any doubt. However, if you notice that you have over dosed with Amitiza, you should immediately call or run to the nearest emergency medical center or Poison Help center.

There are some adverse reactions that have been associated with over dosage of Amitiza. These reactions consist of:

  • lack or loss of strength
  • severe, unusual tiredness or weakness
  • paleness of the skin
  • redness of the face, neck, and arms
  •  Dry heaves
  • dry mouth
  • feeling of warmth
  • weight loss

Once you notice any of these Amitiza side effects, know that you may have been taking more than the normal dosage and you should tell your healthcare provider immediately.

Warnings and Precautions

Impairment of Fertility

Higher doses of Amitiza have been associated with some form of fertility problem as studies in rat indicated. Although such study have not been performed in human, it is advisable for people who may be planning to get pregnant, to inform their healthcare provider.

Bowel Obstruction

People suspected of having and those having stomach and digestive obstructions should be carefully examined prior to the administration of treatment with Amitiza. If any are found to have any form of gastrointestinal or digestive disturbance, they should not be given Amitiza.

Use in Specific Populations

Pregnancy

As we write this article, there have been no significant well-controlled studies involving pregnant women with Amitiza. However, animal studies involving pregnant guinea pigs show a dose dependent fatal loss and no structural malformations. Amitiza uses during pregnancy should be after a careful study indicate or places the benefits far above the risk to the fetus.

Nursing Mothers

There are no data or documented evidence to support, whether Lubiprostone is passed in human milk. Studies in animals (rats) using oral intake of Lubiprostone also failed to detect it in breast milk. However, due to the fact that Amitiza causes diarrhea in children, Amitiza should be given to nursing women with caution.

Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of Amitiza in pediatric patients (patients younger than 5 years) have not been documented. 

Geriatric Use

The efficacy of Amitiza in geriatric patients (patients who are 65 years of age and older) suffering with chronic idiopathic constipation was found to have the same incidence and severity with the efficacy in the overall study population. Following the study, patients suffering with Chronic Idiopathic Constipation were given the experimented doses, efficacy, and long-term studies of Amitiza. Geriatric patients taking Amitiza following a twice daily regimen experienced were associated with lower frequency of incidence of nausea when compared to the total population taking this medicine.

Also, for subjects with, there was no significant difference in the safety and efficiency of Amitiza in geriatric patient suffering with Opioid-induced constipation and those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation with that of the total study population (including younger patients). However, the clinical studies did not include any good or reliable numbers of elderly patients who were 65 years of age and older, and having either OIC or IBS-C for any significant conclusion to be drawn.

Renal Impairment

No specific symptoms have been associated with patients with renal or kidney impairment. Thus, no dosage of Amitiza adjustment is needed in subjects with kidney or renal impairment.

Hepatic or Liver Impairment

People with moderate and severe liver impairment experienced a much higher adverse reaction when given Amitiza (lubiprostone), when compared to normal. Clinical studies also indicated an increase severity and incidence of side effects Amitiza in patients with severe liver impairment.

For these reasons however, the dosage of Amitiza prescribed for subject with moderate liver impairment should begin with the lowest prescribed dose and may only increase after proper examination says so. Also start with the lowest possible dose of Amitiza in patients with severe hepatic impairment. No dose adjustment is needed in subjects with mild liver impairment.

Limitations of Use

The safety and effectiveness this medication in the treatment of subjects suffering with opioid-induced constipation and taking diphenylheptane opioids (such as methadone) has not been fully studied and documented.

Storage and Handling of Amitiza

Store this medicine in its original container at room temperature 25°C (77°F) and keep it away from moisture and high temperatures. Do not stored in areas of high temperatures or close to an open flame. If this medicine is found to have expired, you should not take it. Dispose of all expired and unused medicines following best environmental practices. Medicines, including Amitiza should not be kept in areas that are easily accessible by children and pets could reach.

Amitiza Drug Interactions

Some medicines when taken together may affect or interact with Amitiza, causing a change in how this medicine reacts.

Results from studies have shown that, the chances of other drugs (including prescription, non-prescription medicines, vitamins and herbal products) interacting or interfering with the working or effectiveness of Amitiza are very low. However, there is some evidence of Amitiza with some drugs such as Methadone in patients with Opioids-induced constipation. For this reason, you should inform your healthcare provider about the various medicines you are taking and those you once used.

A disclaimer: This article has been designed and well presented to help patients who are taking Amitiza to gain enough knowledge of all the uses of Amitiza as well as the side effects of Amitiza. We have covered various other aspects relating to the intake of Amitiza for the prevention and treatment of constipation. However, you are required to pay more attention to the prescription and advice of your health care provider and should not use the information provided here as a replacement of your doctor’s prescription. 

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