Having Trouble Staying "Regular"? New Medication May Offer Relief

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Having Trouble Staying "Regular"? New Medication May Offer Relief

Constipation may not be a topic that comes up in casual conversation. But if it did, you might be surprised to find out how many people are affected by this common and often frustrating gastrointestinal condition. Constipation affects more than 30 million Americans and is the cause of 2.5 million visits to physicians and 92,000 hospitalizations annually.

More than a mere inconvenience, constipation causes many people to experience abdominal pain and discomfort and has the potential to negatively impact quality of life, especially when symptoms recur frequently and the condition becomes chronic.

"Traditionally, treatments for constipation have included increasing fiber intake, drinking enough water and using laxatives or stool softeners," said John Johanson, M.D., clinical associate professor, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. "However, many patients are unsatisfied with these treatments because they may lose effectiveness with time and in some cases may even make the problem worse, or may produce unwanted side effects such as increased bloating or gas."

Today, there is a new option for the millions of patients living with chronic idiopathic constipation. AMITIZA™ (lubiprostone), recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a new medication shown to provide effective and predictable relief for adults who suffer from chronic idiopathic constipation.

When there is not enough fluid in the intestine, stools can become very hard, making it difficult for people to pass a bowel movement -this is when constipation occurs. AMITIZA works by increasing fluid secretion, easing the passage of the stool and improving symptoms associated with chronic idiopathic constipation.

"The availability of AMITIZA is exciting news for the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic idiopathic constipation and deal with its daily consequences," said Dr. Johanson.

For more information about chronic constipation and the treatments available in addition to diet and exercise, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

Note to Editors: Important Product Information: AMITIZA is indicated for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in the adult population.

AMITIZA should not be used in patients with a known hypersensitivity to any components of the formulation and in patients with a history of mechanical gastrointestinal obstruction. Patients with symptoms suggestive of mechanical gastrointestinal obstruction should be evaluated prior to initiating AMITIZA treatment.

The safety of AMITIZA in pregnancy has not been evaluated in humans. In guinea pigs, lubiprostone has been shown to have the potential to cause fetal loss. AMITIZA should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Women who could become pregnant should have a negative pregnancy test prior to beginning therapy with AMITIZA and should be capable of complying with effective contraceptive measures.

AMITIZA should not be administered to patients that have severe diarrhea. Patients should be aware of the possible occurrence of diarrhea during treatment. If the diarrhea becomes severe, patients should consult their health professional.

In clinical trials, the most common adverse event was nausea (31%). Other adverse events (≥5% of patients) included diarrhea (13%), headache (13%), abdominal distention (7%), abdominal pain (7%), flatulence (6%), sinusitis (5%) and vomiting (5%).

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