Recent Advances in the Management of Difficult Constipation
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- Lacy, B.E., Levenick, J. & Crowell, M. Curr Gastroenterol Rep (2012) 14: 306. doi:10.1007/s11894-012-0269-1
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Constipation is a highly prevalent disorder. Some patients suffer from acute, intermittent episodes of constipation. Others, however, suffer from chronic constipation, a term that refers to those patients with symptoms of constipation for more than 6 months. In clinical practice, chronic constipation is often used interchangeably with the term functional constipation, which is currently defined using the Rome III criteria. Symptoms can be burdensome, leading to a reduction in patients’ quality of life. In addition, chronic constipation is important because it imposes a significant economic impact to the health care system. Some patients with chronic constipation have persistent symptoms despite implementing lifestyle changes and using either over-the-counter agents or prescription medications. These patients may be categorized as having difficult constipation. This report will focus on recent advances in the management of difficult constipation, and include a discussion of new and upcoming medications as well as new diagnostic tests and procedures.