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Lotronex was Maria Zargo's miracle drug: It was the only thing that curbed the debilitating symptoms of her irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Since Lotronex was pulled from the market, she has been desperately rationing the little bit she has left.

"My supply is running low," says Zargo. "I'll be out of the medication in August. Right now I'm cutting the pills in half to make [them] last longer."

Zargo lives in fear of the disabling bouts of diarrhea and pain brought on by IBS, which forced her to quit work and left her unable to take care of her family. She says Lotronex has enabled her to live her life again.

It's the little known story behind drugs taken off the market: Some patients are robbed of their only effective treatment. Many are now lobbying for Lotronex's return.

A return to Lotronex, however, is unthinkable to Kathy McCormick, who says the drug made her sicker than the IBS it was supposed to treat.

"I just think it's not a good idea to put it back on the market," says McCormick. "They should keep it off permanently."

The advocacy group Public Citizen says the risks associated with Lotronex increase the longer the drug is taken. The group says the government would be responsible for "needless deaths and serious injuries" were it to allow the drug back without the strictest limits on who gets it and how its use is monitored.

Lotronex has been blamed for at least 127 severe reactions and four deaths.

In an internal memo last November, some US Food and Drug Administration scientists concluded that "early warning of the dire side effects…is clearly not feasible."

Yet thousands of Lotronex supporters, like Corey Miller, say the drug works for them. They're contemplating what life will be like after their pill supplies run out.

"I really feel like [I'm] fighting for my life and the quality of the rest of my life," says Miller.©MMII CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
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