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Lubiprostone for constipation


Clinical author's note Michael Stewart 24/8/2020: Amitiza® capsules were discontinued in the UK in January 2019. At the time of review there are no branded or generic products containing lubiprostone available in the UK. Lubiprostone may still be available in other countries. This medicine leaflet is based on medical information available in the UK at the time of writing and is left here for reference purposes. Please also refer to the manufacturer's information supplied with your medicine.

Take one capsule twice daily for at least two weeks.

Take the capsules with food.

The most common side-effects are feeling sick, diarrhoea and headache.

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About lubiprostone

Type of medicine

A chloride-channel activator

Used for


Also called

Amitiza® (discontinued)

Available as


Constipation in adults is a common problem. It means either going to the toilet less often than usual to empty the bowels, or passing hard or painful stools when you do go. It can be caused by not eating enough fibre or not drinking enough fluids, or a lack of exercise or movement (such as being ill in bed). It can also be a side-effect of certain medicines (such as some painkillers), or related to an underlying medical condition. In many cases, the cause is not clear.

Lubiprostone helps to increase secretion of fluid into the bowel. This increases the movement of the bowels, making stools easier to pass. It is helpful for people for whom constipation remains a problem despite recommended changes to lifestyle or diet.

Before taking lubiprostone

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking lubiprostone it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • If you are so constipated that you think you may have a blockage.

  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works.

  • If you have low blood pressure (hypotension).

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

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How to take lubiprostone

  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about lubiprostone and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.

  • Take lubiprostone exactly as your doctor tells you to. The usual dose is one capsule twice daily. A course of treatment lasts for two to four weeks. Swallow the capsule with a drink of water after a meal, or with a snack. The ideal times to take the capsules are after breakfast and after supper.

  • If you forget to take a dose, leave out the missed dose and take your next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Remember to keep any regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.

  • If you have been taking lubiprostone for two weeks and have not noticed any improvement in your symptoms, let your doctor know.

  • A healthy diet containing fibre (wholegrain breads and cereals, bran, fruit and green leafy vegetables) with several glasses of water each day and daily exercise are important in maintaining healthy bowel function.

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Can lubiprostone cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with lubiprostone. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Very common lubiprostone side-effects (these affect more than 1 in 10 people)

What can I do if I experience this?

Feeling sick (nausea)

Make sure you take the capsules during a meal

Common lubiprostone side-effects

(these affect fewer than 1 in 10 people)

What can I do if I experience this?


Drink plenty of water. If the diarrhoea is severe, let your doctor know


Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headaches continue, let your doctor know

Chest tightness, feeling short of breath

Let your doctor know about this so that your treatment can be reviewed

Feeling dizzy

Do not drive and do not use tools or machines while you feel dizzy

Increased sweating, feeling flushed, swollen feet or ankles, stomach upset

If troublesome, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the capsules, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

How to store lubiprostone

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light. The capsules can absorb moisture from the air so it is important to keep them in their original container to keep them dry. Do not keep the capsules for longer than four weeks after the container is first opened.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

If you buy any medicines, always check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take with your other medicines.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article History

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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