Washington: The acute bloating, discomfort and straining associated with constipation may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new drug.
Mayo Clinic researchers have successfully concluded a clinical trial of a new medication shown to provide relief from constipation in a way that capitalises on the body`s natural processes.
The drug, called A3309, targets bile acid recycling in the body. Bile acids, created in the liver and released into the digestive system, aid in breaking down fats and absorbing them into the body.
Bile acids are also natural laxatives that promote bowel movements by softening stool and speeding up how fast stool moves through the colon, according to a Mayo statement.
During digestion, most bile acids are absorbed back into the blood in the lower small intestines for recycling, letting very little bile acids leak into the colon to help facilitate bowel movements.
A3309 works by inhibiting bile acid absorption in the small intestines, allowing more bile acids to enter the colon to stimulate bowel movements.
"The new medication is a novel approach which allows the delivery to the colon of normal substances produced by the patient`s own liver to induce a laxative effect," says Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist and professor Michael Camilleri, who led the study
In Phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the Mayo Clinic team tested the effectiveness of A3309 for two weeks in constipated patients. The study yielded promising results. The drug sped up the movement of stool through the colon.
Patients with constipation who took A3309, compared to those who received placebo, reported significantly less straining and softer stool during bowel movements, says researcher Banny Wong.
The main side effect of A3309 was abdominal discomfort and pain. Wong says this occurred mainly before a bowel movement, after which the pain and discomfort usually went away.
These findings were presented at the 2011 Digestive Disease Week international conference May 7-10 in Chicago.