, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 929-933

Misoprostol is effective treatment for patients with severe chronic constipation

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To assess the efficacy of misoprostol in the treatment of patients with severe chronic constipation, nine such patients were enrolled in a double-blind, randomized, crossover study of misoprostol (1200 µg/day) or placebo, that lasted three weeks. During this period each patient received the drug for one week and placebo for another with a week washout period in between. A colonic transit study, using radiopaque markers, was performed during each of the treatment weeks, while the number of stools and their total weight was recorded by each patient for the appropriate periods. Colonic transit time was significantly and consistently decreased by misoprostal compared to placebo [66 hr±10.2 vs 109.4 hr±8.1 (P=0.0005)]. Misoprostrol significantly increased the total stool weight per week [976.5 g±288.8 vs 434.6 g±190.5 (P=0.001)] and also significantly increased the number of stools per week compared to placebo [6.5±1.3 vs 2.5±0.11 (P=0.01)]. The incidence of abdominal pain was similar in both groups. We concluded that misoprostol, during a short trial period, proved effective in increasing the frequency and weight of bowel movements and decreasing colonic transit time in patients with severe chronic constipation. It may be used as a therapeutic measure to treat such patients.

This study was supported by a grant from Searle, Chicago, Illinois, and presented at the annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association, Boston, Massachusetts, 1993.