Brand names: Zelnorm
Zelnorm provides relief for many women suffering from the type of irritable bowel syndrome marked by constipation. It works by mimicking the effect that serotonin has on the intestines. Zelnorm is also used to treat chronic idiopathic constipation in patients less than 65 years old.
Serotonin is one of the nervous system's chief chemical messengers. When it activates certain receptors in the walls of the intestines, it stimulates digestive activity and reduces intestinal sensitivity. Women using Zelnorm report less abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort, and an increase in the frequency of bowel movements.
Zelnorm may trigger an attack of diarrhea, typically during the first week of therapy. The problem usually clears up after a single episode. Do not start taking Zelnorm if you have diarrhea or frequently suffer from it. Check with your doctor immediately if you develop severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, or rectal bleeding, or if the diarrhea is accompanied by severe cramps, abdominal pain, fainting, or dizziness. Severe or prolonged diarrhea can lead to dehydration and dangerously low blood pressure.
Take Zelnorm twice a day on an empty stomach shortly before a meal.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue using Zelnorm.
There have been rare reports of a variety of other problems. Tell your doctor about any new or unusual symptoms immediately.
Do not take Zelnorm if you have severe kidney disease or moderate-to-severe liver disease. Avoid it, too, if you've ever had a bowel obstruction, gallbladder disease, or adhesions in the abdomen. Remember that you should not take Zelnorm if you are prone to diarrhea. If the drug causes an allergic reaction, you'll be unable to use it.
If you develop new or worsening abdominal pain or severe diarrhea, or if you faint, stop taking Zelnorm and check with your doctor immediately.
Zelnorm has not been approved for use by men or children under 18.
Clinical studies have failed to identify any significant drug interactions at this time. However, you should always tell the doctor about any medicines you take, including prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal products.
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Zelnorm should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Use of Zelnorm when breastfeeding is not recommended.
The usual dosage is 6 milligrams twice daily before meals. Therapy for irritable bowel syndrome lasts 4 to 6 weeks. If the drug provides relief, the doctor may prescribe it for an additional 4 to 6 weeks. For chronic idiopathic constipation, the usual dose is also 6 milligrams twice daily before meals, but with no set duration of treatment.
The most likely symptoms of a Zelnorm overdose are diarrhea and headache. Other possibilities are abdominal pain, gas, nausea, and vomiting. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical help immediately.