Tegaserod is a prescription drug licensed to treat chronic idiopathic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. The medicine works by stimulating certain serotonin receptors in the digestive tract. This helps the muscles of the digestive tract move food through more quickly and makes the nerves in the digestive tract less sensitive. The medicine comes in tablet form and is usually taken twice a day before meals.
In March 2007, Zelnorm was taken off the market in the United States because it was shown to increase the risk for a heart attack, angina, or stroke. In July 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Zelnorm will be available to people who meet certain criteria through a special program called a "treatment IND" (see Zelnorm Recall for more information). However, as of April 2, 2008, Zelnorm is no longer available under the treatment IND program, although it may still be available in certain emergency situations.
As with any medicine, there are possible side effects with tegaserod. However, not everyone who takes the medicine will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it well.
When side effects do occur, they are often minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
The most common side effects of tegaserod include:
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Zelnorm [package insert]. East Hanover, NJ: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation;2006 July.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Zelnorm (tegaserod maleate) information (4/2/2008). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/zelnorm/default.htm. Accessed April 4, 2008.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. FDA permits restricted use of Zelnorm for qualifying patients (7/27/2007). FDA Web site. http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01673.html. Accessed July 27, 2007.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed December 22, 2006.
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