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Zelnorm (Generic)

Zelnorm (Tegaserod) is a selective serotonin receptor agonist. It works by improving muscle movement and increasing production of fluid in the bowels.

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Uses

Tegaserod is used for short term treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in women who have constipation as their main symptom. It may also be used in some patients to treat certain forms of chronic constipation or other conditions as determined by your doctor. This medication is also used to increase the frequency of bowel movements and relieve bloating, straining, and stomach pain in women and men with chronic idiopathic constipation (constipation that is not due to other diseases or medications and that has been a problem for longer than 6 months). Tegaserod controls the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation, but does not cure these conditions.

How to take

Tegaserod comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken twice a day on an empty stomach shortly before a meal. Take Tegaserod at around the same times every day. Take Tegaserod exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Side effects

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include headache, stomach pain, joint pain, or diarrhea. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. If diarrhea occurs, it may be only temporary during the first week of treatment. If it occurs, your doctor may recommend that you drink plenty of liquids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Contact your doctor immediately if the diarrhea does not resolve on it own, is severe, or if you feel weak, have severe cramping or dizziness, or experience fainting. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe stomach pain or blood in your stools. An allergic reaction to this medicine is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away: headache, diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting, gas, leg or back pain; joint pain or problems; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; runny nose, congestion, or other cold symptoms. Some side effects can be serious. If you experience either of the following symptoms call your doctor immediately: rash, hives, itching, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes; difficulty breathing and swallowing; hoarseness. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe diarrhea, severe headache, stomach pain, gas, upset stomach, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when getting up too quickly from a lying position. If you suspect an overdose of Tegaserod, seek medical attention immediately. You should know that Tegaserod rarely may cause ischemic colitis (decreased blood flow to the bowels). You may have some diarrhea, especially during your first week of taking Tegaserod. However, if you have a lot of diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, new or worsening stomach pain, rectal bleeding, or if you also have severe cramping, dizziness, light-headedness, fainting, blurred vision, a fast heartbeat, you should stop taking Tegaserod and call your doctor immediately.

Precaution

Before taking Tegaserod, tell your doctor if you are allergic to Tegaserod or any other medications. Tell your doctor what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, herbal products, or nutritional supplements you are taking. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of your medications or monitor you more carefully for side effects. Tell your doctor if you have diarrhea now or if you often have diarrhea, and if you have or have ever had gallbladder, kidney, or liver disease; a blockage in your intestines or unexplained stomach pain; abdominal surgery (surgery on the area between your chest and hips); jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (blockage of bile or digestive juices flowing into the intestine that causes pain and/or jaundice); or ischemic colitis (decreased blood flow to the intestines causing rectal bleeding, bloody diarrhea, or stomach pain). Inform your doctor of any other medical conditions including current or repeat episodes of diarrhea or stomach pain, allergies, pregnancy, or breast-feeding. Use of this medicine is not recommended if you have diarrhea, frequent bouts of diarrhea, severe kidney disease, moderate or severe liver disease, a history of certain stomach disorders (e.g., bowel obstruction, symptomatic gallbladder disease, suspected sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, or abdominal adhesions). Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about taking this medicine. People with IBS may need to have abdominal surgery (surgery on any part of the body between the chest and the hips), especially gall bladder surgery, more often than people who do not have IBS. People with IBS who took Tegaserod needed this type of surgery somewhat more often than people who did not take Tegaserod. It is not known if taking Tegaserod increases your chance of needing abdominal surgery. Talk to your doctor about the risk of taking this medication. If you have IBS with constipation, your doctor will probably tell you to take Tegaserod for 4 to 6 weeks. If your symptoms improve, your doctor may tell you to take Tegaserod for another 4 to 6 weeks. If you have chronic idiopathic constipation, you should talk to your doctor regularly to see if you should continue to take Tegaserod. Be sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling, and do not take Tegaserod for longer than your doctor prescribes. Continue to take Tegaserod even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Tegaserod without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking Tegaserod, your symptoms may return within 1 to 2 weeks. Do not take this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it or are allergic to any ingredient in this product. It may take up to 4 weeks for this medicine to work. If you experience different or suddenly worsening stomach pain compared to your regular IBS symptoms, stop taking this medicine and call your doctor immediately. If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy. It is unknown if this medicine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking this medicine.

Drug interactions

Digoxin (Digitek, Lanoxin) Taking Tegaserod with Digoxin can slightly decrease the level of Digoxin in your blood. For most people, this interaction will not cause any problems, and the doses of these medications do not need to be adjusted. Oral Contraceptives ("Birth Control Pills") Taking Tegaserod with oral contraceptives can slightly decrease the level of oral contraceptive in your blood. For most women, this interaction will not cause any problems (and will not increase the risk of pregnancy), and the doses of these medications do not need to be adjusted. Medicines for bowel problems or bladder incontinence (these can cause constipation.) Tell your health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

Missed dose

You should skip the missed dose. Wait until the next time you are supposed to take Tegaserod, and then take your normal dose. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

Storage

Store Tegaserod at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not freeze. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Tegaserod out of the reach of children and away from pets.