Drugs Q & A

How Long Does It Take For Linzess To Work?

Linzess is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Chronic Idiopathic Constipation. Linzess may be used alone or with other medications. Linzess belongs to a class of drugs called IBS Agents; Gastrointestinals, Guanylate Cyclase-C Agonsts. It is not known if Linzess is safe and effective in children younger than 18 years of age.

Linzess was approved in 2012 for the management of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in adult men and women and is only available as a brand-name medication. Irritable Bowel Syndrome with constipation is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that leads to abdominal pain or discomfort along with constipation symptoms. Constipation may be caused by the slow movement of stools through the colon. It is estimated that about 13 million people in the US are affected by IBS-C.

How does Linzess work?

Linzess contains an active ingredient called linaclotide, which works by reducing intestinal pain, an action which also improve stool texture and lessens symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain/discomfort, straining, and feelings of incomplete bowel movements.. The drug increases the cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) levels to decrease pain.

How long does it take for Linzess to work?

Linzess typically starts to work within a few hours of taking the first dose. Most people experience a bowel movement within the first day of taking Linzess, although the exact timing can vary from person to person.

In clinical trials, the majority of people taking Linzess had a bowel movement within 24 to 48 hours of taking the medication. However, it is important to note that individual responses to Linzess can vary, and some people may take longer to see results.

It is also important to remember that Linzess is not a quick-relief medication for occasional constipation. It is intended for long-term use in the management of chronic idiopathic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). It may take several weeks of consistent use to achieve optimal results, and the medication should be taken regularly as prescribed by your doctor.

If you have been taking Linzess for several days and have not experienced a bowel movement or are experiencing other concerning symptoms, such as severe abdominal pain or bloating, you should contact your doctor for further evaluation.

What are the possible side effects of Linzess?

Linzess may cause serious side effects including:

  • severe or ongoing diarrhea,
  • diarrhea with dizziness,
  • lightheadedness,
  • increased thirst or urination,
  • leg cramps,
  • mood changes,
  • confusion,
  • feeling unsteady,
  • irregular heartbeats,
  • fluttering in your chest,
  • muscle weakness,
  • limp feeling,
  • severe stomach pain, and
  • black, bloody or tarry stools

Get medical help right away, if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

The most common side effects of Linzess include:

  • diarrhea,
  • stomach pain,
  • gas, and
  • bloating or feeling full in your stomach

Tell the doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Linzess. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

How long does diarrhea last when taking Linzess?

For the average person taking Linzess, diarrhea is the most common side effect and usually appears in the first two weeks of treatment. In clinical trials, diarrhea resolved in a week for about 33% of people.

Linzess Safety Information

Before taking linaclotide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: stomach/intestinal blockage.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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