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Prucalopride for constipation


Take one tablet daily.

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

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About prucalopride

Type of medicine

Selective serotonin 5HT4-receptor agonist

Used for


Also called


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.

Prucalopride works on the muscle wall of the bowels. It increases the movement of the bowels, making stools easier to pass. It can be helpful for people for whom constipation remains a problem despite having made changes to lifestyle and diet, and despite having tried a number of different laxatives.

Before taking prucalopride

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 prucalopride it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breastfeeding.

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

  • If you have any other bowel condition (such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis or toxic megacolon).

  • If you have a heart condition or have been told that you have an unusual heart rhythm.

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

  • 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 prucalopride tablets

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

  • Take prucalopride tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usual to be prescribed one (2 mg) tablet to take once daily. You may be given a lower-strength tablet if you are over 65 years old, or if you have any problems with your liver or kidneys.

  • Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. You can take the tablet at a time of day to suit you. It is recommended that you take your doses at the same time of day each day, as doing this can help you to remember to take your doses regularly. You can take prucalopride tablets before or after food.

  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, leave out the forgotten dose and take the dose that is due. Do not take two tablets at the same time to make up for a missed 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.

  • 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.

  • You can read our leaflet called Fibre and Fibre Supplements for advice on ways to increase the amount of fibre in your diet.

  • You should avoid getting pregnant while you are taking prucalopride. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are suitable for you and your partner.

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Can prucalopride 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 prucalopride. 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 prucalopride side-effects (these affect more than 1 in 10 people)

What can I do if I experience this?


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

Feeling sick (nausea), tummy (abdominal) pain

This usually passes within a few days. In the meantime eat simple meals - avoid rich or spicy foods


Drink plenty of water

Common prucalopride side-effects

(these affect fewer than 1 in 10 people)

What can I do if I experience this?

Feeling dizzy or tired

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

Indigestion, upset stomach, passing urine frequently, rectal bleeding

If troublesome, speak with your doctor

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

How to store prucalopride

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

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

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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