Zelnorm and Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Zelnorm (generic tegaserod) is a drug prescribed for the short-term treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in women. IBS is a disorder that gives millions of people abdominal pain and either severe diarrhea, constipation or both. IBS occurs mainly in women, and Zelnorm is only prescribed to women. Zelnorm has been the only drug therapy for the constipation-causing form of IBS approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In March 2007 the FDA notified healthcare professionals that the manufacturer of Zelnorm, Novartis Phamaceuticals Company, agreed to discontinue marketing Zelnorm in the United States.

FDA studies showed a large number of severe cardiovascular events (angina, heart attack, and stroke) in patients taking Zelnorm. The drug has also been linked to serious cases of diarrhea and ischemic colitis. Prior to the March 2007 decision to remove Zelnorm from the market, the FDA had received 21 reports of severe diarrhea that caused low blood pressure (hypotension) and fainting (syncope).