Alvimopan : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

IMPORTANT WARNING:

Alvimopan is for short-term use by hospitalized patients only. You will not receive more than 15 doses of alvimopan during your hospital stay. You will not be given any extra alvimopan to take after you leave the hospital.

Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking alvimopan.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Alvimopan is used to help the intestine heal more quickly after bowel surgery, so that you can eat solid food and have regular bowel movements. Alvimopan is in a class of drugs called peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists. It works by protecting the intestine from the effects of constipation from opioid (narcotic) medications used to treat pain after surgery.

How should this medicine be used?

Alvimopan comes as capsules to take by mouth. It is usually taken once shortly before bowel surgery. After surgery, it is usually taken twice a day for up to 7 days or until discharge from the hospital. Your nurse will bring your medicine when it is time to receive each dose.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication should not be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking alvimopan,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to alvimopan or any other medications.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking or have recently taken opioid (narcotic) pain medications. Your doctor may tell you not to take alvimopan if you have taken any opioid medicine in the 7 days before your surgery.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: certain calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac, others) and verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); itraconazole (Sporanox); certain medications for irregular heartbeat, such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone) and quinidine; quinine (Qualaquin); and spironolactone (Aldactone, in Aldactazide). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a complete bowel obstruction (blockage in your intestine); or kidney or liver disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Alvimopan may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • constipation
  • gas
  • heartburn
  • difficulty urinating
  • back pain

Alvimopan may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.

In one study, people who took alvimopan for up to 12 months were more likely to have heart attacks than people who did not take alvimopan. However, in another study, people who took alvimopan up to 7 days after bowel surgery were not more likely to have heart attacks than people who did not take alvimopan. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking alvimopan.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or cannot wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.

What other information should I know?

Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about alvimopan.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Entereg®

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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