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Lubiprostone: a novel treatment for chronic constipation

Authors Brian E Lacy, L Campbell Levy

Published 6 June 2008 Volume 2008:3(2) Pages 357—364


Brian E Lacy, L Campbell Levy

Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon NH, USA

Abstract: Chronic constipation is highly prevalent, reduces patients’ quality of life, and imposes a significant health care burden on society. Lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter agents improve symptoms of constipation in some patients, however many patients have persistent symptoms and require the use of prescription medications. Three prescription medications are currently Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and available for the treatment of chronic constipation in adults. This review will focus on lubiprostone, the newest medication available for the treatment of chronic constipation. Lubiprostone is a bicyclic fatty acid metabolite analogue of prostaglandin E1. It activates specific chloride channels in the gastrointestinal tract to stimulate intestinal fluid secretion, increase gastrointestinal transit, and improve symptoms of constipation. This article will provide a brief overview on chloride channel function in the gastrointestinal tract, describe the structure, function, and pharmacokinetics of lubiprostone, and discuss the safety and efficacy of this new medication.

Keywords: chloride, chloride channels, constipation, functional bowel disorders, gastrointestinal motility, intestinal secretion, irritable bowel syndrome, lubiprostone

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