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A review and additional post-hoc analyses of the incidence and impact of constipation observed in darifenacin clinical trials

Authors Tack J, Wyndaele, Ligozio, Egermark

Received 28 September 2011

Accepted for publication 24 November 2011

Published 27 September 2012 Volume 2012:4 Pages 127—139

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DHPS.S26580

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2


Jan Tack,1 Jean-Jacques Wyndaele,2 Greg Ligozio,3 Mathias Egermark4

1University of Leuven, Gastroenterology Section, Leuven, 2University of Antwerp, Department of Urology, Antwerp, Belgium; 3Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, NJ, USA; 4Roche Diagnostics Scandinavia AB, Bromma, Sweden and formerly of Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland


Background: Constipation is a common side effect of antimuscarinic treatment for overactive bladder (OAB). This review evaluates the incidence and impact of constipation on the lives of patients with OAB being treated with darifenacin.
Methods: Constipation data from published Phase III and Phase IIIb/IV darifenacin studies were reviewed and analyzed. Over 4000 patients with OAB (aged 18–89 years; ≥80% female) enrolled in nine studies (three Phase III [data from these fixed-dose studies were pooled and provide the primary focus for this review], three Phase IIIb, and three Phase IV). The impact of constipation was assessed by discontinuations, use of concomitant laxatives, patient-reported perception of treatment, and a bowel habit questionnaire.
Results: In the pooled Phase III trials, 14.8% (50/337) of patients on darifenacin 7.5 mg/day and 21.3% (71/334) on 15 mg/day experienced constipation compared with 12.6% (28/223) and 6.2% (24/388) with tolterodine and placebo, respectively. In addition, a few patients discontinued treatment due to constipation (0.6% [2/337], 1.2% [4/334], 1.8% [4/223], and 0.3% [1/388] in the darifenacin 7.5 mg/day or 15 mg/day, tolterodine, and placebo groups, respectively), or required concomitant laxatives (3.3% [11/337], 6.6% [22/334], 7.2% [16/223], and 1.5% [6/388] in the darifenacin 7.5 mg/day or 15 mg/day, tolterodine, and placebo groups, respectively). Patient-reported perception of treatment quality was observed to be similar between patients who experienced constipation and those who did not. During the long-term extension study, a bowel habit questionnaire showed only small numerical changes over time in frequency of bowel movements, straining to empty bowels, or number of days with hard stools.
Conclusion: While constipation associated with darifenacin was reported in ≤21% of the patient population, it only led to concomitant laxative use in approximately one-third of these patients and a low incidence of treatment discontinuation. These data suggest that constipation did not impact patient perception of treatment quality.

Keywords: antimuscarinics, tolerability, overactive bladder

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