UPDATE: 06/09/2013– As of mid-May 2013, Constella is available to be prescribed in the United Kingdom. See the May 22, 2013 article by Pharma Times Online Thank you to Dr. Barbara Bradley Bolen, About.com IBS Guide for alerting us to this news.
On November 28, 2012, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and Almirall, S.A. announced that the European Commission has approved linaclotide, to be known in Europe as Constella, for use by adults with moderate to severe irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C), both men and women. The new medication, which is an oral capsule to be taken once a day, is expected to be available in European Union countries sometime in the first half of 2013, and is the first prescription medication approved specifically for IBS-C. According to the press release on Constella from Ironwood, there are an estimated 15 million adults with IBS-C within the European Union. The press release also includes a brief description of what the medication is and how it is believed to work.
Linaclotide was approved in August of this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adults with IBS-C or chronic idiopathic constipation. In the United States, the brand name is Linzess, and it is to be distributed by Ironwood Pharmaceuticals and Forest Laboratories. For further details, please see the September 1, 2012 post.
As many in the IBS community are aware, approved prescription medications specifically for irritable bowel syndrome of any subtype are extremely limited, and no single treatment, whether it is medication, diet, psychological interventions, or others, proves appropriate or effective for every individual with IBS, even those with similar symptom patterns. IBS Impact is pleased that those with constipation-predominant IBS in various countries in Europe will soon have another option, and urges those who are considering linaclotide to read the available information, to familiarize themselves with the benefits and risks and to consult their own doctors as to if linaclotide is worth trying in their specific situations. IBS Impact focuses on awareness and advocacy and does not endorse particular treatments, but does encourage accurate and up to date information from reputable sources so that individuals with IBS and their families can make the most informed choices for their own needs and desires.