Living with a chronic condition can be unimaginably hard. Worse yet, you can feel isolated and alone because no one can see anything physically wrong with you and you are too embarrassed to discuss it. A dear friend of mine recently confided in me that she has been dealing with chronic idiopathic constipation (or CIC) for much of her adult life. I'm not sure she would have ever told me had I not caught her at an appropriate moment.
Back when we first met in college, I marveled at Karen's energy. Karen* was always the one to motivate everyone to get off the couch and head out for a day swimming at the quarry, take a long road trip to see a band, or head off for a day on the slopes in the winter. We reconnected five years ago when she moved to my hometown. I was so excited to have her living close by, but was surprised that she never seemed willing to join me for hikes, picnics, or dinner out. We would meet for coffee, but she always turned me down if I suggested some window shopping or that we go for a walk after. It was such a change from the friend I knew from college, but I chalked it up to her being a busy working mom now.
What is CIC?
Once I learned about CIC and what trying to manage the condition is like, the change I noted in Karen made total sense. CIC is a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that is typically characterized by infrequent bowel movements (fewer than three a week), difficult-to-pass stools or a sensation of not being fully emptied, where there is no identifiable cause.1,2 CIC is one of the most common functional gastrointestinal disorders worldwide, affecting approximately 33 million Americans and an estimated 14 percent of the global population.1,2 Given how common CIC is, I am still stunned that I had never heard of it before. Approximately 1 in 7 adults in the United States has CIC!2
Many of us have had constipation from time to time, but when you have CIC, the condition is ongoing.1 Karen told me that sometimes all the laxatives, fiber and water she'd consume to manage her CIC left her feeling like she could do even less each day. She would swing from constipation as a result of the CIC to diarrhea from the methods she was using on her own to try to get relief. Because of this, her days seemed to center around the bathroom and where to find one.
Imagine if you had to figure out where an accessible bathroom was everywhere you went. How would you manage a road trip? Take your kids to the beach? Or even attend a school play comfortably? Rather than juggle it all, Karen found it was easier just to avoid a lot of situations entirely. As much as she wanted to participate in any number of things, she was too embarrassed to tell people the real reason she was going to skip the school camping trip. When managing constipation, you shouldn't have to spend your day mapping out where and when you can get to a bathroom and worrying about what activities your condition will allow you to enjoy.
A Treatment for CIC
The great news for Karen and other folks suffering from CIC is that there are prescription treatment options to help manage it. Trulance™ (plecanatide) 3 mg tablets is a medicine indicated for adults with CIC.3 Trulance can help provide more regular, well-formed bowel movements.3 If you are suffering from CIC, maybe it's time to talk with your doctor to see if Trulance is right for you. Diarrhea is the most common side effect and can sometimes be severe.3 It is important to discuss the potential benefits and side effects with your doctor.3 See additional important safety information below.
To learn more about Trulance, visit the website here.
 Thomas R, Luthin D. Current and emerging treatments for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and chronic idiopathic constipation: focus on prosecretory agents. Pharmacotherapy Pub. 2015; 613-630.
 Trulance™ [Prescribing Information]. Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Inc., New York City, New York: January 2017. http://content.stockpr.com/synergypharma/files/pages/synergypharma/db/147/description/PP-TRU-US-0175++Trulance+Prescribing+Information.pdf. Accessed July 25, 2017.
What is Trulance?
Trulance™ (plecanatide) 3 mg tablets is a prescription medicine used in adults to treat a type of constipation called chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). “Idiopathic” means the cause of the constipation is unknown. It is not known if Trulance is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Do not give Trulance to children who are less than 6 years of age. It may harm them.
- You should not give Trulance to children 6 years to less than 18 years of age. It may harm them.
- Do not take Trulance if a doctor has told you that you have a bowel blockage (intestinal obstruction).
Before you take Trulance, tell your doctor:
- If you have any other medical conditions.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Trulance will harm your unborn baby.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Trulance passes into your breast milk. Talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take Trulance.
- About all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Diarrhea is the most common side effect and can sometimes be severe. Diarrhea often begins within the first 4 weeks of Trulance treatment. Stop taking Trulance and call your doctor right away if you get severe diarrhea.
Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of Trulance. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
You are encouraged to report side effects to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088 or you can report side effects to Synergy Pharmaceuticals at 1-888-869-8869.
*Name and identifying details changed to protect patient privacy.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Synergy Pharmaceuticals. The opinions and text are all mine.