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Lotronex: Dangerous and Helpful

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is quite a tricky condition to talk about for the doctors, as they have to explain to their patients that it is not a real disease, but only a functional disorder of the intestinal muscles. IBS is also difficult to talk about for the patients due to the embarrassing and debilitating symptoms. Moreover, the treatment of this gastrointestinal disorder is not easier to describe taking into account the complicated story of Lotronex – IBS drug made for women exclusively.

Being approved by the FDA in 1999 for the common use to slow down bowel movements in women with diarrhea-predominant IBS, the medicine is now available through the restricted drug marketing program for those suffering from severe diarrhea-predominant IBS. The matter is that in view of the potential risks of side effects only a limited number of chosen patients may be prescribed with this drug. Moreover, only doctors enrolled in the Prescribing Program for Lotronex may fill in the prescriptions.

Lotronex (alosetron) decreases motility by affecting neurons in the digestive tract and blocking the action of serotonin in the gut. Working this way the drug lessens abdominal cramps and pain, indigestion, bloating, and frequency of bowel movements. Good candidates for the treatment by this medication may be women with:

-         chronic (lasting not less than 6 months) and officially proved IBS,

-         diarrhea as the predominant symptom,

-         frequent and severe abdominal pain,

-         fecal incontinence,

-         disability or significant interference of IBS symptoms in everyday activities,

-         and patients who did not respond to other therapies.

Prior to being prescribed with Lotronex, sufferers are always informed about the possible risks and serious side effects of the drug and should sign a Patient-Physician Agreement, confirming that they are aware of the dangers the medication may have. The latter are usually connected with the constipation development with such serious complications as intestinal damage, severely obstructed and ruptured bowels and ischemic colitis. These are caused by the reduced blood flow to the intestines and significantly reduced bowel movements frequency in response to the medication. The whole trouble with Lotronex approval and withdrawal with the consecutive restricted marketing program introduction was, actually, caused by the reports of several deaths due to the use of the drug.

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Consequently, the first sign of constipation should be the moment a patient must see her doctor immediately. A physician will also provide the necessary important information about the drug interactions, use in pregnancy and along with the other existing health disorders. 

To sum it up, IBS, being treated as the only functional disorder, not a disease in the full sense of the word, should, nevertheless, be taken very seriously due to its devastating influence on the lifestyle of a sufferer. In addition, therapies to control the symptoms of IBS must be closely supervised by the skilled health-care professionals, and all the instructions must be strictly and consciously followed by the patients themselves.


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