Constipation Drug for Chronically Ill Patients on Painkillers

Methylnaltrexone has been approved by the FDA for once-daily use in patients who suffer from constipation due to opioid painkillers. In phase III testing, Methylnaltrexone was shown to be three times more effective than the placebo in producing bowel movements. Researchers tested 133 chronically ill patients with constipation caused by opioid painkillers that did not respond to laxatives. Many of the patients in the study had a bowel movement within four hours of taking the first dose, and a greater proportion of patients being treated had at least three bowel movements per week, unaided by laxatives. Eighty-nine patients then began openly taking the drug as needed; however, only 45–58% of patients had bowel movements without laxatives during this phase. Further testing will include a larger group of patients and investigation of why the drug did not have a highter rate of success. MedPage Today, May 28, 2008
2008-06-02 04:37:56

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