Movantik side effects and how to avoid them

Movantik is a brand-name medication manufactured by AstraZeneca. It is classified as a peripheral opioid receptor antagonist and is used for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation side effects of opioids. While Movantik is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Movantik include nausea and vomiting. Less common but more serious side effects can include serious allergic reactions.

Learn more about the side effects of Movantik and what you can do to avoid them.

What is Movantik (naloxegol)?

Movantik is a medication prescribed to adults who have constipation caused by taking opioid painkillers to improve bowel movement. It’s formulated specifically for adults who take opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.

If your doctor prescribes you opioid medication, they may also prescribe Movantik at the same time. The medication is designed to stop opioids from affecting your bowels and giving you constipation. You take Movantik as a tablet with water.

Opioid medications cause constipation by attaching to the surface of cells in your bowels at locations called mu-receptors. This stimulates the mu-receptors, causing reactions in your bowel cells that remove fluid and slow the passage of waste through your bowels. This hardens your stools and makes it harder for your body to expel them.

Movantik helps to counter this. When you take Movantik, the active ingredient naloxegol (a PEGylated derivative of naloxone) binds with the mu-receptors instead of the opioids. This blocks the mu-receptors and stops the opioids from stimulating them and affecting your bowels.

Is Movantik a laxative?

Movantik is an opioid receptor antagonist used to treat the constipating side effects of opioids.

Can Movantik help with regular constipation?

Movantik is a medication prescribed to adults who have constipation caused by taking opioid painkillers. It’s formulated specifically for adults who take opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.

Movantik dosage

Movantik is available in tablet form in the following doses: 12.5 mg and 25 mg

Take Movantik on an empty stomach at least 1 hour before your first meal or 2 hours after the meal. If you are unable to swallow the tablet whole, crush the tablet and take it orally or via a nasogastric tube. Discontinue treatment with Movantik if opioid pain medication is discontinued. Take 25 mg once daily but reduce to 12.5 mg once daily if you are unable to tolerate 25 mg. Store Movantik at room temperature, away from moisture and light.

You are advised to read the medication guide provided with this medicine for the drug information and patient information, and always speak with your healthcare provider for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.

Can you take Movantik every day?

Take Movantik 25 mg once daily in the morning. Reduce the dosage to 12.5 mg once daily if you are unable to tolerate 25mg.

When is the best time to take Movantik?

Take Movantik orally once daily in the morning on an empty stomach 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal.

What happens if you take Movantik with food?

Taking Movantik with food may increase its absorption into your bloodstream.

What happens when you stop taking Movantik?

You will stop taking Movantik if you stop receiving treatment with opioids. If you have constipation after stopping opioids, you will need to use an alternative treatment as Movantik will not be suitable. Stopping treatment with an opioid may also cause opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Movantik side effects

The most common possible side effects of Movantik include:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Movantik can cause more serious side effects, including:

  • Severe allergic reactions to the medication
  • Symptoms of opioid withdrawal include sweating, chills, worsening abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritability, and anxiety resulting in hospitalization
  • Severe stomach pain and/or diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal perforations in the wall of your stomach or intestines

If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Movantik and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report adverse reactions to prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Does Movantik cause weight gain?

Weight gain is a side effect experienced when taking Movantik. This is more common in females over the age of 60 that have been using Movantik for over 1 month.

Movantik drug interactions

Movantik can interact with other medications, including:

  • Azole antifungals such as ketoconazole, itraconazole
  • Boceprevir, indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, tipranavir
  • Antibiotics such as clarithromycin
  • Methadone as therapy for pain
  • Moderate CYP3A4 inhibitors such as diltiazem, erythromycin, or verapamil
  • Strong CYP3A4 inducers such as rifampin, carbamazepine, and St. John’s Wort

Before taking Movantik, be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking to ensure they are safe to take at the same time.

Movantik contraindications

Don’t take Movantik if:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient naloxegol
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Movantik
  • Have, or have ever had, a blockage in your bowels (intestinal obstruction)

Talk to your doctor before taking Movantik if you:

  • Regularly take laxatives
  • Have any stomach or bowel problems, like diverticulitis, colitis, or cancer
  • Have recently had surgery on your stomach or bowels
  • Have intestinal ulcers or tumors, Crohn’s, or diverticulitis
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have any liver problems
  • Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed – It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk

You should also avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice when you take Movantik. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Movantik, to ensure it is safe.

How to avoid Movantik side effects

The best way to avoid side effects is to take Movantik as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and do not take more or less than prescribed.

If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.

1. Stick to the recommended dosage

Take your prescribed dose of Movantik as recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.

2. Monitor your blood sugar levels

If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Movantik. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.

3. Drink plenty of fluids

Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can make side effects worse.

4. Avoid alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Movantik. Movantik is taken when opioid treatments cause constipation. Alcohol will have a combined sedative effect when taken with opioids.

5. Don’t skip meals

Eating regular meals and snacks will help to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

6. Check your feet

If you have diabetes, check your feet for any cuts, sores, or redness regularly. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your feet while taking Movantik.

7. Know the signs and symptoms of Movantik side effects

Signs and symptoms of side effects include stomach pain and flatulence. If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor for medical advice.

8. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking

Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Movantik.

9. Get regular medical checkups

It is important to get regular medical checkups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your side effects and may adjust your dose of Movantik as needed.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

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Sources (4)

  1. Rxlist - Movantik

  2. - Monantik

  3. WebMD - Movantik - Uses, Side Effects, and More

  4. FDA - highlights of prescribing information for Movantik

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.