If you haven’t heard of Linzess before, Linzess is the most commonly prescribed medication for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
The drug’s manufacturer states that Linzess can help those with IBS have more regular, full bowel movements, as well as alleviate any symptoms, like bloating or stomach cramps.
Laxatives are often prescribed for those with constipation, but Linzess isn’t a laxative. Instead, the medication attaches to an enzyme found in the intestine lining.
This lowers pain by relaxing nerves and adding more fluid in the intestinal areas to speed up bowel movements.
We’ll review Linzess in more detail below, including our verdict on whether we think it’s effective for IBS symptoms or not.
You’ll find out how the medication works, its possible side effects, and how it performs against other popular IBS drugs.
Is Linzess Effective?
Linzess medication is usually prescribed for IBS-C, a term that refers to IBS and constipation. The other form of IBS is IBS and diarrhea, known as IBS-D.
In 2012, a study released in the American Journal of Gastroenterology looked at how efficient Linzess was at treating IBS-C. The study lasted 26 weeks, requiring participants to take a placebo pill or Linzess every day.
They found that Linzess worked well at treating IBS-C. Patients’ overall scores for stomach pain were lower, as well as values for bloating and straining symptoms.
Unlike the placebo group, the Linzess group’s gastrointestinal pain lowered by 14.4%.
In 2018, a German medical study looked at how Linzess worked on IBS-C patients. The researchers found that Linzess patients’ symptoms, such as bloating and stomach pain, were reduced by 50%.
They then concluded that Linzess works well at treating main IBS-C symptoms.
Another review in 2014 looked at several results from 25 clinic tests. The findings were that Linzess also worked well for treating persistent constipation, not just IBS-C symptoms.
After chronic constipation patients took Linzess, they found that their bowel movements improved to become more regular. Their stomach pain also improved by a noticeable amount.
The medical findings show that there’s a greater chance of Linzess alleviating IBS-C and persistent constipation symptoms.
However, while the findings show that Linzess works on average, there may be patients who don’t see a difference with the medication.
How Linzess Works
The medication Linzess is a peptide that’s made from 14 single amino acids. The body only slightly absorbs the drug, as intestinal fluid increases to improve bowel movements.
Bloating usually involves the stomach feeling full, which tends to be linked with late gastric emptying and overdue intestinal motility. Patients may find that Linzess alleviates these symptoms.
People who live with IBS-C or continuous constipation move food from their stomachs slower than others.
Linzess works by increasing the food processing speed, which improves symptoms and regulates the system.
The 2014 review from the last section found that Linzess didn’t affect human metabolism. The drug and the active metabolite couldn’t be found in blood samples.
This indicates that Linzess only works within the intestinal area and is then eliminated through the stool.
Potential Side Effects Of Linzess
Linzess works by increasing fluid secretion and bowel movements, which is why diarrhea is one of the most common side effects. As diarrhea is a possibility, Linzess is usually only prescribed for IBS-C symptoms, not IBS-D.
Gas is also another possibility. This 2013 review looked at the side effects that some Linzess patients experienced, and found that there were more instances of flatulence.
Unfortunately, 7.9% of patients on Linzess needed to discontinue medical trials due to the side effects, while the placebo group only had a 2.8% drop out.
Most notably, the FDA requires Linzess to have a black box warning sign. This is used in the U.S to indicate which medications can lead to severe side effects and even death.
The warning states that pediatric patients who take Linzess can experience major dehydration. It also says that safety is obscure for those under 18.
Adult patients aren’t warned against taking Linzess, but as safety guidelines aren’t straightforward for children, it’s best for those under 18 to avoid taking Linzess.
How Much Linzess Should You Take?
There are three different doses of Linzess. The smallest is 72 micrograms, then 145, finishing with 290 micrograms.
The medical trials we’ve included above looked at higher doses of 290 micrograms. The FDA states that 145 microgram doses can be used to relieve persistent constipation.
However, a 2018 trial in Japan found that Linzess relieved constipation well at a higher dose of 0.5 milligrams. This is roughly 3 times more than the U.S.-regulated dose.
This isn’t a sign to begin taking Linzess in larger amounts, but it’s important to consider the findings of recent research, and whether they make the medication more or less effective.
If more research emerges and shows that 0.5mg doses of Linzess work well, the U.S might follow suit and approve higher doses.
However, this is yet to occur. Always stick to the dose that your doctor recommends, and don’t try experimenting with different amounts yourself.
What Is Linzess Generic?
Linzess is available in its generic form, which is better known as linaclotide.
Remember, there’s no main difference between generic linaclotide and branded Linzess.
Both Linzess and linaclotide use the same active substance to address IBS symptoms. Other inactive substances, like colorants in Linzess, won’t be a part of the treatment.
It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about standard drugs, like linaclotide, instead of Linzess, the branded option.
Generic medications are usually much cheaper than branded ones, which can make a big difference if you’re on a lower income.
If you choose to pay upfront, moving to a generic drug from its branded counterpart can save you thousands every year.
Trulance Or Linzess?
Trulance is another example of a common IBS-C and constipation medication. A lot of people who live with gastrointestinal symptoms wonder which drug works better than the other.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology released a comprehensive medical review that compared the drugs in more detail.
After studying results from over 10,000 patients, they found that both Trulance and Linzess worked similarly to each other.
Both of the drugs produced similar side effects, and there were no stark differences between one or the other.
This is most likely since both medications bind to the enzyme guanylate cyclase, so act on the body in the same way.
As both Trulance and Linzess are so similar, patients should choose whichever medication is the more affordable option for them.
Amitiza Or Linzess?
Amitiza is an older type of IBS medication that has been compared to Linzess. This medical review looked at both of these drugs, as well as other examples of IBS medication.
The review’s findings were that Linzess was more effective in several areas. The result isn’t surprising. Thanks to modern research, newer drugs are often superior to older ones.
However, the findings did note that Amitzia was responsible for fewer diarrhea events. In this case, IBS-D patients may find that Amitizia works better for them.
Time Linzess Needs To Work
Linzess states that the drug has a greater chance of working in the first week of taking it.
This claim seems to be accurate based on research. This 2013 study from the United European Gastroenterology Journal noted that linaclotide relieved IBS-C symptoms after five days.
In the case of other symptoms, including gas, abdominal pain, and bloating, Linzess states that relief from these will continue to improve over twelve weeks.
This 2013 study took place over twelve weeks and found that Linzess did improve symptoms during these weeks.
The dosage given ranged between 145 mg and 290 mg, so the relief from smaller doses still needs to be assessed.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that smaller doses are ineffective. If necessary, your doctor will be able to prescribe the right amount of medication needed for you. Never take more Linzess or linaclotide than the amount prescribed, as this could lead to serious side effects.
The Bottom Line
Many studies have shown that Linzess works well to treat IBS-C and persistent constipation symptoms. The drug doesn’t treat the cause of the conditions, or bring about recovery.
Nevertheless, Linzess can relieve common symptoms, like gas, bloating, constipation, and stomach pain to make those with the condition feel better.
However, parents and guardians should avoid giving the drug to children under 18 unless stated differently by a pediatrician.
Linzess has an FDA black box label that warns the drug may bring about more serious side effects in children.
When looking at Linzess against other drugs, it worked better than the older Amitzia, but had similar effects to Trulance.
Linzess is the branded name for the generic drug linaclotide. The main active substance in both of these medications is the same, so they have very similar effects on the body.
If any patients are on low incomes, it’s best to opt for linaclotide, as this is generally more affordable than its branded counterpart.