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Reference Guide for Irritable Bowel Syndrome Medications

by BidRx Team
Woman hunched over in pain


  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is common and is often treated with a mix of lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication.
  • A few prescription medications are available to treat severe IBS symptoms in specific circumstances.
  • BidRX can help you get the lowest price on your IBS medications.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the more common syndromes in the US. For many people, it’s mild, but others can experience symptoms that interfere with their daily lives. Explore what IBS is, how it’s diagnosed, what prescription medications are available, and how to get the lowest prices on irritable bowel syndrome medications.

About IBS

IBS is generally defined as a set of symptoms that can’t be explained by another cause, generally involving abdominal pain and changes to your stool and how frequently you go to the bathroom. It affects about 10 to 15 percent of the population and is diagnosed using the Rome criteria:

Abdominal pain at least one day a week on average for the last three months, associated with two of the following:

  • Defecation
  • A change in how frequently you defecate
  • A change in the consistency of stool

IBS Medications – Overview

Most symptoms of IBS can be treated with over-the-counter medication, which is generally part of a package of lifestyle changes and daily care. For severe cases, prescription medications are considered in certain circumstances. They include:

One drug, Alosetron, is currently only available in limited circumstances and you must be approved in order to obtain a prescription for it.

Eluxadoline (Viberzi)

Man hunched over in pain

Eluxadoline reduces muscle contractions and fluid retention in the intestines, easing diarrhea. It also helps to improve rectal muscle tone. Eluxadoline has also been associated with pancreatitis, which can be serious and more common in certain individuals.

Contraindications of Eluxadoline

Do not take eluxadoline if you:

  • Are experiencing severe constipation 
  • Have an intestinal blockage
  • Have any history of gallbladder obstruction
  • Have had your gallbladder removed
  • Experience problems related to the sphincter of Oddi 
  • Have severe liver disease
  • Have any pancreatic disorder regardless of severity
  • Consume 3 or more alcoholic beverages in a day

If you have kidney or liver disease, discuss eluxadoline’s risks with your doctor before taking it.

Warnings of Eluxadoline

Eluxadoline is not approved for anyone under 18, and has not been tested for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Eluxadoline is habit-forming, and your usage will need to be carefully monitored.

Side Effects of Eluxadoline

The most common side effects of eluxadoline are

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain.

Side effects are more likely in older adults.

Interactions of Eluxadoline

Currently, there are no known common interactions with other medications and eluxadoline. However, drugs that are metabolized by the liver or the kidneys should be monitored closely while taking it.

Rifaximin (Xifaxan)

Rifaximin is an antibiotic used to combat bacterial overgrowth. It’s primarily used to treat IBS when diarrhea is the primary symptom, with the idea that managing the intestinal biome will help control symptoms.

Contraindications of Rifaximin

Anyone allergic to the following should not take rifaximin:

  • Rifabutin
  • Rifampin
  • Rifapentine

If you have liver disease, do not take rifaximin.

Warnings of Rifaximin

If you continue to have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, contact a doctor immediately as this may be a sign of a new infection. If you have bloody diarrhea at any point after taking Rifaximin, contact a doctor. Rifaximin may also alter the results of liver tests.

Side Effects of Rifaximin

Typical side effects of rifaximin include:

  • Swelling in the extremities
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

More serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention include.

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Bloody diarrhea at any point after taking rifaximin
  • Fever
  • Fluid build-up around the stomach

Interactions of Rifaximin

Rifaximin should not be taken with the following without approval from a medical professional:

  • Any other antibiotic
  • Antiviral medication
  • Antifungals
  • Heart or blood pressure medication

Lubiprostone (Amitiza)

Cancer symbol

Lubiprostone increases the retention of fluid in the small intestine, which helps you pass stool. 

Contraindications of Lubiprostone

Opioid users should not take lubiprostone without being cleared to do so.

Warnings of Lubiprostone

Lubiprostone has only been approved for women who have been diagnosed with IBS that has constipation as a primary symptom, who have severe symptoms, and for whom other treatments haven’t been effective.

If you feel light-headed after taking lubiprostone or if you have severe diarrhea, stop taking it and seek immediate medical attention.

Side Effects of Lubiprostone

Possible common lubiprostone side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas and bloating
  • Headache

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience:

  • Severe and/or ongoing nausea 
  • Severe and/or ongoing diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Light-headedness or a feeling like you’ll pass out

Interactions of Lubiprostone

Opioids may interact with lubiprostone, so inform your doctor if you’re using them. 

Linaclotide (Linzess)

Woman in pain

Similar to lubiprostone, linaclotide increases fluid secretion in the small intestine, easing the passage of stool. 

Contraindications of Linaclotide

If you have or suspect you have an intestinal blockage, do not take linaclotide.

Warnings of Linaclotide

Linaclotide should not be taken by anyone under 18. Linaclotide can be fatal for children under 6, and should be stored securely in a place children have no access.

If you experience severe ongoing diarrhea or diarrhea with a feeling of lightheadedness, seek medical attention right away.

Side Effects of Linaclotide

Linaclotide’s typical side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Gas and bloating
  • A feeling of uncomfortable fullness in your stomach.

Linaclotide should be taken 30 to 60 minutes before eating to ease diarrhea.

Interactions of Linaclotide

There are no current notable interactions with linaclotide, but review everything you take with your doctor to ensure there are no possible impacts on your intestine. Discontinue any herbal supplements you take while using linaclotide.

Get The Lowest Prices on Irritable Bowel Syndrome Medications With BidRX

IBS shouldn’t be the driving force in your life, and neither should the cost of medication. With BidRX, you file a prescription and pharmacies across the country compete for your business. When you pick the winner, your prescription arrives at your door.

Get started on our medication page, and learn how BidRX can get you the lowest prices on all your prescriptions!

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