Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Medication Shows Promise For Patients With Severe Chronic Constipation

Date:
May 29, 2008
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
A new medication appears to offer significant relief to patients with severe chronic constipation while minimizing the likelihood of cardiac-related side effects. Constipation is a common medical problem, affecting about 15 percent of Americans who spend several billion dollars each year on laxatives and other treatments.

A new medication appears to offer significant relief to patients with severe chronic constipation while minimizing the likelihood of cardiac-related side effects, according to results of a study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Related Articles


The trial involved 38 medical centers and was led by Michael Camilleri, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist. Patients who met the study criteria were randomly assigned to receive either of two dosage levels of prucalopride, a medication that stimulates protein receptors involved in contraction of the colon, or a placebo.

"Many more of the patients taking prucalopride were able to have spontaneous bowel movements without having enemas or taking laxatives, as compared to those who were given placebo," says Dr. Camilleri. "The time it took to have a first bowel movement was much shorter, and quality of life and other abdominal symptoms also were improved for those taking the study drug."

Constipation is a common medical problem, affecting about 15 percent of Americans who spend several billion dollars each year on laxatives and other treatments. Prevalence is higher among women and African-Americans and is particularly increased in the elderly. This study involved patients with an extreme but common version of constipation called severe chronic constipation. To participate, patients had to have at least six months of constipation, defined as an average of fewer than three bowel movements a week. Those who had more than four bowel movements during the two-week "run-in" period before treatment began were not eligible.

"The normal range of bowel movements is anywhere from three per day to three per week," explains Dr. Camilleri. "The 620 patients studied in this trial were severely constipated, averaging only one bowel movement during the two weeks before entering treatment, and most had struggled with the problem for several years, not merely months."

The 2 milligram (mg) and 4 mg doses of prucalopride appeared roughly equal in benefit, with about 30 percent of patients averaging three bowel movements per week during the 12-week study. Only 12 percent of patients on placebo averaged three bowel movements per week. Nearly half (47.3 and 46.6 percent, respectively) of the patients taking prucalopride increased their bowel movements by at least one per week, while about a quarter (25.8 percent) of those on placebo had a similar improvement.

The most common adverse effect from the drug was diarrhea, which tended to occur in the early stages of treatment, but most patients later settled into a more normal routine of bowel movements. Increased bowel movements and diarrhea are expected effects of the drug. Only 1.5 percent and 4.4 percent of patients treated with 2 mg and 4 mg of prucalopride, respectively, stopped the drug due to diarrhea. "This suggests that the diarrhea was less bothersome than the constipation had been," Dr. Camilleri says. Headaches were a less frequent side effect.

Dr. Camilleri says the cardiac risk issues that have been raised about related drugs for constipation including tegaserod, appear to be less of a concern for prucalopride. "Prucalopride is highly selective in its effect, and doesn't interact significantly with other protein receptors, such as those involved in regulating heart rhythm," he explains. "We conducted electrocardiogram testing during the study and did not find heart rhythm issues, although two of the three patients who withdrew from the study did have symptoms, palpitations and dizziness that may have been attributable to an effect on the cardiovascular system."

Prucalopride is not yet approved for use in the United States or in any other country.

Dr. Camilleri says results from other studies will need to be compiled and published, and safety and efficacy data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review, before it can be approved in the United States as a treatment for chronic constipation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Medication Shows Promise For Patients With Severe Chronic Constipation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528172015.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2008, May 29). Medication Shows Promise For Patients With Severe Chronic Constipation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528172015.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Medication Shows Promise For Patients With Severe Chronic Constipation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080528172015.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins