Alvimopan is only for short term use by hospitalized patients. You will receive no more than 15 doses of alvimopan during your hospital stay. You will not be given any additional 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 bowel recover more quickly after bowel surgery, so that you can eat solid foods and have regular bowel movements. Alvimopan is in a class of medications called peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonists. It works by protecting the bowel from the constipation effects of opioid (narcotic) medications that are used to treat pain after surgery.
How should this medicine be used?
Alvimopan comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken once shortly before bowel surgery. After the surgery, it is usually taken twice a day for up to 7 days or until hospital discharge. Your nurse will bring your medication to you when it is time for you 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 any opioid (narcotic) medications for pain. Your doctor may tell you not to take alvimopan if you have taken any opioid medications during 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 carefully 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 breast-feeding.
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:
- difficulty urinating
- back pain
Alvimopan may cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
In one study, people who took alvimopan for up to 12 months were more likely to experience heart attacks than people who did not take alvimopan. However, in another study, people who took alvimopan for up to 7 days following bowel surgery were no more likely to experience 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 may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about alvimopan.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.