Linaclotide Found Effective for Chronic Constipation

Daily doses of 150 and 300 µg provide greatest relief with fewest adverse effects

MONDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with chronic constipation, treatment with linaclotide -- a minimally absorbed peptide agonist of the guanylate cyclase-C receptor -- may be safe and effective, according to a study published in the March issue of Gastroenterology.

Anthony J. Lembo, M.D., of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues randomly assigned 310 patients to receive either 75, 150, 300 or 600 µg of oral linaclotide or placebo once daily for four weeks.

The researchers found that the 75, 150, 300 and 600 µg doses of linaclotide were associated with increases in the weekly number of spontaneous bowel movements from baseline of 2.6, 3.3, 3.6 and 4.3, respectively, compared to an increase of only 1.5 for placebo. They also found that linaclotide was associated with improvements in stool consistency, straining, abdominal discomfort, bloating, global assessments and quality of life, but that the highest dose was associated with increased side effects, especially diarrhea.

"The 150 and 300 µg daily doses of linaclotide appear to provide an appropriate balance of improvement in symptoms and few adverse events, and will, therefore, be assessed in future Phase 3 trials for chronic constipation," the authors conclude.

The study was supported by Ironwood Pharmaceuticals; all of the authors reported financial relationships with the company.

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