Linaclotide or Linzess is a guanylate cyclase type c or GC-C receptor agonist drug licensed to treat constipation predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Doctors call this a secretagogue drug which increases secretion of fluid in to the bowel and reduces gut sensitivity.
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The GC-C receptor is found in the membrane of cells that line your gut.
It is this receptor that, when stimulated, causes the enzyme GC-C to promote secretion of fluids which lubricate your bowel.
Linaclotide is known as an agonist drug which means that it stimulates these receptors to produce secretions in the constipated bowel.
By doing so, the stools are softened and pass through your bowel in a shorter time than you would normally have.
It also seems to reduce the sensitivity of the pain sensing nerves in your bowel too making your IBS less painful.
Also known by the trade name Linzess, it is licensed in adult IBS-C and is available as 145mcg and 290 mcg capsules.
In IBS-C, it is recommended at a dose of 290 mcg a day on an empty stomach 30 minutes before food, although the dose can be adjusted depending on response.
Yes, the most common side effect is diarrhea and this occurs in approximately 2% of people that are treated.
Other rare side effects include flatulence, bloating or distension and headache.
At present, there are no known drug interactions, but if you start this medication potential interactions with other drugs you are taking will need monitoring.
If you have refractory IBS-C (refractory means resistant IBS to other methods of treating constipation) then this medication can be considered after discussion with your doctor.