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What Is Tegaserod?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Tegaserod is a generic medication that is prescribed to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as constipation, stomach pain, and bloating. A doctor may also prescribe it for chronic idiopathic constipation, which is constipation that has lasted for at least six months. This drug is a serotonin agonist that works with the muscles and raises levels of fluid in the bowels. As of 2011, tegaserod is not available for use by consumers in the United States; however, it may still be available for limited use by patients in emergency situations or those who are hospitalized.

This medication is available as a tablet to be taken on an empty stomach, right before the patient plans to eat a meal. A full glass of water should be consumed with each dose. The doctor will usually prescribe a dose to be taken twice daily. Patients may take the drug for four to six weeks and return to the physician for an evaluation. The doctor may order another four to six weeks of treatment if tegaserod appears to be helping.

Some side effects may occur with the use of tegaserod, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become bothersome. Patients may experience insomnia, joint pain, and leg or back pain. Nausea, vomiting, and flatulence, along with diarrhea may also occur. Some patients have reported headaches and cold symptoms, such as congestion and a runny nose. Dizziness, migraines, and mild stomach pain have also been reported.

More serious side effects from taking tegaserod will require a doctor's immediate care. An allergic reaction may occur rarely, and patients should get help if they experience problems breathing, chest tightness, or hives. Allergic reactions can also cause swelling of the throat, face, and lips.

Other serious side effects can include hoarseness, bloody stools, and persistent diarrhea. Some patients may have new or worsening stomach pain, or severe abdominal cramps or pain. Rarely, patients have reported feeling faint.

Before taking tegaserod, patients should disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. While it is not expected to cause harm to an unborn baby, tegaserod may pass into breast milk and can harm a nursing infant. Patients may be unable to use this drug if they have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Depression, gallbladder problems, and liver or kidney disease may also preclude a patient from using it. This drug may be contraindicated for use by those who smoke, are overweight, or are over the age of 55.

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