Canada Pharmacy Depot

Linzess Side Effects and Contraindications

Tuesday 2 April 2024
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. Common Linzess Side Effects

II. More Serious Linzess Side Effects

III. Who Should Not Take Linzess?

IV. Conclusion

Linzess (linaclotide) is a prescription medication used to relieve constipation from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), and functional constipation (FC). If you struggle with constipation, Linzess may help provide much-needed relief and improved bowel movements.

While Linzess can be an effective treatment, it's important to be aware of the potential side effects and risks. In this article, we will examine the common and serious side effects reported with Linzess and discuss who should avoid taking this medication altogether.

Common Linzess Side Effects

Linzess works by increasing fluid in the intestines to soften stool and stimulate bowel movements. While this mechanism of action is effective for chronic constipation and IBS, it can lead to some temporary side effects as your body adjusts. The good news is that most side effects are mild and tend to subside within a couple of weeks of starting treatment. [1]

Common side effects of Linzess include:

  • Diarrhea: One of the most frequently reported side effects of Linzess is diarrhea. This occurs because the medication draws more fluid into the intestines, resulting in loose and watery stools. It is important to note that in most cases, the diarrhea is mild. However, in rare instances, severe diarrhea may occur.
  • Gas: Increased fluid intake in the intestines can lead to excess gas production. Therefore, it is common for individuals taking Linzess to experience increased flatulence. While this side effect can be uncomfortable, it is generally temporary.
  • Stomach Pain: Linzess works by stimulating muscle contractions in the intestines, which can occasionally cause cramping or abdominal discomfort. This discomfort is typically mild and should subside as your body adapts to the medication. [1]

To minimize the risk of experiencing side effects, it is recommended to take Linzess on an empty stomach rather than with a high-fat meal. Taking the medication at least 30 minutes before your first meal of the day can help prevent or reduce the occurrence of these side effects. [1]

More Serious Linzess Side Effects

a woman drinking a glass of water

If you experience concerning symptoms such as severe diarrhea, dehydration, or an allergic reaction after starting Linzess, do not wait to seek help. Contact your doctor right away to discuss what you are going through. They can determine if your symptoms may be connected to Linzess and recommend any needed changes to your treatment.

Severe Diarrhea

In clinical trials of Linzess, diarrhea was the most reported side effect, affecting about 20% of participants. While severe diarrhea was less frequent, impacting around 2% of participants, you should be aware of the symptoms and take appropriate action if they arise. [1]

Severe diarrhea may lead to symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Urgent need to use the bathroom
  • Fever
  • Bloody stools
  • Dehydration
  • Leaking stool
  • Loss of bowel control [2]

If you experience severe diarrhea, stop taking Linzess right away and notify your doctor as soon as possible. Although diarrhea can be an inconvenient side effect, the good news is that it is often manageable by adjusting your treatment plan and diet. [1]


Linzess can be an effective treatment for chronic constipation in adults. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a boxed warning for Linzess regarding its use in children under six years of age. According to this warning, Linzess may cause severe diarrhea, leading to dangerous dehydration in children, especially those under two years old. [1]

Animal studies found that young animals taking Linzess developed severe, prolonged diarrhea that led to dehydration. In some cases, this dehydration proved fatal. Due to these risks, Linzess is not FDA-approved for use in children under the age of six. [1]

If your child's doctor does prescribe Linzess, be extremely vigilant in monitoring them for signs of dehydration, including:

  • Dry mouth or sticky saliva: Their mouth may feel dry, and saliva can become thick and tacky.
  • Little or no tears: They may not produce tears when crying.
  • Sunken eyes: Their eyes can appear sunk into their skull.
  • Urinating less: They will urinate very little or stop urinating.
  • Irritability or sleepiness: They may seem irritable, dizzy, or very sleepy. [3]

Allergic Reaction

Though rare, it’s important to be aware of the possibility of an allergic reaction when starting any new medication, including Linzess.

After Linzess was approved, some individuals reported experiencing what they believed were allergic reactions to the drug. The symptoms they described included difficulty breathing, swelling, and hives. However, because these reports were submitted voluntarily, the FDA couldn't confirm that the reactions were directly caused by Linzess or how often they might occur. [1]

If you have a concerning reaction after starting Linzess, contact your doctor immediately for an evaluation. They can properly assess your symptoms, determine if they indicate an allergic response to the medication, and recommend appropriate next steps to ensure your safety. [1]

Who Should Not Take Linzess?

a child holding a book

Linzess may not be right for everyone. Your doctor will consider your full medical history before prescribing this medication. Some people who should use avoid Linzess include:

  • Individuals with intestinal blockage: Linzess is designed to stimulate bowel movements and increase the speed at which stool moves through the intestines. However, for someone with an intestinal blockage, this effect could potentially worsen the blockage and lead to dangerous complications. If you have a history of intestinal blockages or other bowel-related issues, it is important to inform your doctor before beginning a course of Linzess.
  • Individuals under the age of six: The FDA has issued a serious warning about using Linzess in children under two years old. There is a risk of severe dehydration leading to hospitalization or even death. While the warning focuses on infants and toddlers, the FDA has not approved Linzess for any child under age 6. The effects on young children are still being studied. [1]


Linzess may relieve constipation and make daily life more comfortable, but you must be vigilant about potential side effects and contraindications. If you experience any concerning side effects, it's important to let your doctor know immediately.

To learn more about this medication, explore the other Linzess articles in our dedicated blog.