Question about Zelnorm???

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 2244
   Posted 10/9/2006 3:26 PM (GMT -7)   
How well has it worked for those of you that have tried it and what side effects did you have?
I was dx with Celiac disease (gluten sensitivity) in 9/03.  I started my gluten free diet and could tell a slight difference within a couple of days, the only symptoms that went away was the abdominal pain and cramps.  Afterwards I still struggled with D everyday, I had to take Immodium every morning and go to the bathroom before I would / could leave my house.  I became a prisioner of my own home.  Finally in May 05 after other symptoms came up I was dx with Lupus and found out that is what was causing my other GI symptoms.  I was put on Imuran and could tell a difference immediately... I didn't have D anymore yeah   whoooo hoooooo!  I still struggled with the bathroom issue and wouldn't eat before I went anywhere but things were looking up.
Well after being on the meds for over a year I started having new GI symptoms, a lot of pain under my left rib after eating, not being able to eat fruits and veggies, constipation, etc. I have gone 7 days without going and then had to take something to move things along.  I just don't understand why I would go from one extreme to another without an explanation? 
I recently had some GI procedures done and the doc is saying IBS too and wants me to try Zelnorm.  I took it a week ago Sat and had terrible diarrhea so I didn't take it again.  Instead of continuing with the meds I decided to try adding more fiber to my diet, well it didn't work.  On Wed I tried taking one just to get things moving, it didn't work, then I called my doc, they said to try a laxative.  I took one on Thurs and NOTHING... then I took another one Friday night and Sat morning and FINALLY went that night!  As the doctor instructed after things started moving I started the Zelnorm only 1 tab a day and had the same reaction yesterday (diarrhea, headache and nausea).  I took it again today and NOTHING, no BM,,..... is this normal??????
I am so sorry this is so long.... thank you for listening.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding
~ Proverbs 3:5 ~
DX with: Lupus, Hashimoto's & Celiac
Imuran, Plaquenil, Flexeril, Piroxicam, Levoxyl and Folic Acid

Post Edited (jhmom) : 10/9/2006 4:49:30 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1451
   Posted 10/9/2006 8:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I had very bad luck with Zelnorm but it has helped some people, I was to only take one a day and it really cramped me up and gave me diahrea so I cut it down in half and was so dizzy I could not get out of bed. My IBS (if that is what it was) is pretty much gone and even though I still get constipated I just take a Dulcolax(1) not 2 or 3 as they suggest and usually within a day have a normal BM and that gets me back on track. As long as you don't take laxatives all the time my dr. feels they are very safe and Ok to use. I just don't like the intensity if I take the recommended dosage. This way it is managable when I am out and about. Hope you find a solution.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 10/10/2006 9:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Stacie,
I was on Zelnorm for over 6 months. The first couple days was rough... I was nauseous, had a little cramping, and had headaches. No D. For those 1st few days I took some Advil for the headaches and cramping, and then I was fine.
If your D isn't too terrible or accompanied by dizziness and cramping it should go away within a few days. It's actually quite common for people to have D at first.
Have you spoken to your doc about your effects and what you should do about it?
Good luck!
Co-Moderator for the IBS Forum
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 2244
   Posted 10/10/2006 3:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you both!  I had pretty good luck with the Ducolax too but had to take 3 over a 3 day span to get things moving of course I had gone 6 days without moving.  My doctor would rather me take the Zelnorm than a laxative. The first time I took Zelnorm the diarrhea was like water, the 2nd time nothing happened, the 3rd time diarrhea (like water), nausea and headache and the 4th time nothing happened. I will be taking it again tonight, we shall see how it works.  I thought I would give it at least 3 days to see if the D goes away.  My doctor hasn't said much about it yet, only to take one tab a day.  I am supposed to have a follow up appt with him soon.  Thanks again! 
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding
~ Proverbs 3:5 ~
DX with: Lupus, Hashimoto's & Celiac
Imuran, Plaquenil, Flexeril, Piroxicam, Levoxyl and Folic Acid

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/11/2006 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   
I am a new person since taking Zelnorm...My GI doc started me very slow 3 mg twice a day then 3mg in the am and 6mg at night over the course of 6 days I  now have reg stools(I went every 3 days b4) and NO GAS NO bloating....I do have a bit of dizziness and a small headache but well worth it....
call your doc and start slowly over a course of a few days to let your body adapt

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 11/23/2006 8:10 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm new here. I have IBS with C. I have started Zelnorm many times. Each time I do get some D and a headache. It works pretty well for about 5 weeks and then I am always back to square one. Very frustrating. I take the 6mg dosage 2 times a day. So when it stops working, I stop taking it for about 2-3 wks and go back to wheat bran - have to take 2-3 T, 3 times a day, with 10 glasses of water through out the day. Get a lot of gas. Then go back to Zelnorm. For me insoluble fiber works better than soluble. The soluble, Metamucil, Acacia, Benefiber etc all bulk up the stool but slows down motility. The insoluble, wheat bran improves the transit time, bulk up the stool and gives me a more complete feeling bowel movement. It's an on going battle, though. It seems my system gets "used " to anything after a while and goes back to what it's been doing for years!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 11/27/2006 12:43 PM (GMT -7)   
<<I was put on Imuran and could tell a difference immediately... I didn't have D anymore >>

Is this a medicine that you absolutely have to take for your Lupus? It would seem to me that if it stopped you from having D, it could very well be the thing constipating you right now.

I take Welchol to control my bile diarrhea (from having no gall bladder), but I can't take the same dosage every day because my body's not the same everyday and I don't eat the same things everyday. Some days I need an extra dose because the D is worse. Some days I have to skip a dose because I'm starting to get constipated.

Unless the Imuran treats something other than diarrhea, I would start with cutting it down and see if you cease being constipated. Ask your doctor if you need to continue to take that dose for some reason other than D treatment, and see if you can cut the pills in half (some can't be cut). Get a smaller dosage pill if you can't cut them in half. It seems silly to me to treat the side affects of one medicine with another medicine if you don't absolutely need the first medicine to begin with. My theory is the more pills you are on, the more likely you are to get worse, not better.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 11/28/2006 8:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I have taking zelnorm on and off just only when I absalutly need it at first it gave me d but at least I was going
and it doesnt give me any side affects. when I do take it it works great. oh it gives me lots of gas Id rather not have
but Im allways a gassy person lol!
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