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Two Drugs Show Promise Against Severe Constipation
Date:5/28/2008

ween prucalopride and the older drugs was that they acted on a cell receptor that stimulates cells in the wall of the intestines to induce muscle contraction, Camilleri said. "There is no chemical resemblance," he said. "Those other two medications also affect a certain kind of channel in the heart conduction system which makes it likely they will be associated with abnormalities in the heart."

And results of the prucalopride trial are just being published, even though the trial ended in 1999, Moss noted. "Its rather unusual for a study completed in 1999 to wait an additional nine years for publication, so I raised that point," he said.

Publication was delayed, because "in animal studies, toxicology showed an imbalance in the number of tumors," Camilleri said. The imbalance was seen in longer-term high doses" he said, so additional safety studies were needed before publication.

Another report in the same issue of the journal described a successful trial of a new drug to relieve the constipation experienced by very ill people given narcotic drugs to ease their pain.

In the trial that included 133 people who have received such opioid painkillers for two or more weeks, 48 percent of those getting the drug, methylnaltrexone, had bowel movements within four hours of the first dose, compared to 15 percent of those getting a placebo. More than half of those given the drug had a bowel movement without the use of an additional laxative, compared to 8 percent of those in the placebo group.

The trial was one of two studies that led to approval of the drug, which is given by injection, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month.

More information

Causes and treatment of constipation are described by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.




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