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Constipation Sufferers have New Prescription Drug (Amitiza) Treatment


February 1st, 2006

Constipation Sufferers have New Prescription Drug Amitiza Treatment

Over the Counter Alternative

The FDA approved a new drug called Amitiza (lubiprostone) for adult idiopathic constipation.  This drug is the first of its chemical type that is being used for this condition.  Chronic idiopathic constipation is a condition where the person has constipation that is not caused from other diseases or medications.

The infrequent and difficulty in the passage of stool on a regular basis is a very common problem.  Up to 63 million Americans suffer from chronic idiopathic constipation and this condition is usually found in people over the age of 65 years.  Women suffer more often than men do.  Other side effects of this type of constipation are abdominal pain, feelings of stomach discomfort, bloating, straining and hard stools.


Amitiza won FDA approval because of the results of two clinical trials of people that had less than 3 unprompted bowel movements per week.  The constipation problem also had to have been ongoing for 6 months as a requirement to participate in the Amitiza trials.  When the chronic constipation sufferers took Amitiza they had more bowel movements in the first week compared to the placebo group.  The same results continued through the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th week of taking this medication.

Not only was the Amitiza successful at treating the constipation, it also decreased the discomfort, and abdominal bloating in long term studies of 6-12 months in duration as well as improving regularity.  The way that Amitiza works is by making more fluid available in the intestines to help maintain a normal stool consistency which also allows for normal transit times. 


The side effects reported on the trials were headache, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and distension.  At this time the FDA and the drug company do not know if this is directly caused from taking Amitiza.  This medication sounds like it will offer hope to many that suffer from constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer


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