Alosetron is a prescription medication used to treat severe cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in female patients. Women who experience frequent diarrhea, chronic pain, cramps, and other uncomfortable symptoms may be prescribed the drug after other less potent medications and dietary changes have failed to bring relief. Alosetron helps reduce the frequency of bowel movements and harden the stools. The medication can cause potentially serious side effects, so it is essential for patients to use it exactly as directed and attend regular checkups with their doctors during treatment to ensure positive results.
Studies have shown that alosetron carries significant risks of complications, so its use is reserved for only the most serious cases of IBS. Not all doctors are allowed to prescribe it; specialists must be enrolled in government-sanctioned programs that ensure they understand the risks involved and the potential warning signs of negative reactions.
Alosetron is classified as a serotonin antagonist. It blocks certain chemical signals in nerve cells that lead to the intestines; this relaxes the bowels, slows the movement of waste, and allows for more water to be absorbed. As a result, bowel movements become firmer and more regular while causing fewer cramps and painful episodes.
Most adult female patients are given very low initial doses of alosetron, usually no more than 0.5 milligrams to be taken twice a day. Doctors schedule regular appointments in the first four weeks of treatment to gauge the effectiveness of the drug and to check for signs of negative side effects. If serious complications are absent but a patient is not seeing any improvement in symptoms, the dosage amount can be increased to 1 milligram, taken two times a day.
Women who follow their doctors' instructions about proper diet and medication use do not typically experience major side effects. Common temporary problems include constipation, mild bloating, and headaches. If constipation persists for several days, a woman may develop hemorrhoids, severe stomach upset, swelling in the abdomen, and possibly increased heart rate and blood pressure. Such side effects can lead to serious complications, and they should be reported to a doctor immediately.
It is also possible to experience an allergic reaction to alosetron that causes chest pains, breathing troubles, and skin hives. Rarely, the medication can induce bowel inflammation and swelling, a condition called ischemic colitis, that can become life-threatening if it is not treated immediately. It is essential to seek emergency care if massive abdominal pains or signs of an allergic reaction develop while taking alosetron.