New Drug Could Ease Pain In Common Bowel Disease

Australian researchers have identified the mechanism of pain relief of a new drug for treating irritable bowel syndrome with constipation.

AsianScientist (Oct. 31, 2013) – Australian researchers have identified the mechanism of pain relief of a new drug for treating irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C).

Published in the journal Gastroenterology, the study describes the mechanism of action for Linaclotide based on nonclinical studies, and quantified its effectiveness in pain relief in Phase IIb clinical trials. Linaclotide is a recently approved drug for the treatment of chronic abdominal pain and constipation in adult IBS-C patients.

IBS is a potentially debilitating condition with abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. It affects up to 15 percent of western populations, costing millions of dollars annually in lost productivity and health care in Australia alone. Approximately one third of IBS patients are diagnosed as having IBS-C.

“IBS affects many people, particularly women, on a daily basis and has a significant impact on their quality of life. Abdominal pain is often the most troubling symptom to IBS patients and has been the most difficult symptom to treat,” said study leader Dr. Stuart Brierley.

“The drug is effective in relieving abdominal pain associated with IBS-C and is already available and registered for use by IBS-C patients in the USA and Europe. It is yet to go through the regulatory process in Australia,” he said.

The research is a collaboration between the Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory at the University of Adelaide, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc, and the developers of Linaclotide. Pre-clinical studies showed that Linaclotide inhibits pain nerve endings in the intestine through a novel physiological pathway localized to the gastrointestinal tract.

Brierley collaborated with Ironwood to further investigate how Linaclotide acts within the gastrointestinal tract to reduce abdominal pain. It had been shown to increase the secretion of fluids into the intestine and improve transit through the gastrointestinal tract. However, initial trials had shown that it also reduced abdominal pain associated with IBS-C, independently of its action on improving constipation.

“The study also showed the analgesic effect translated into clinical findings in humans,” said Dr. Brierley. “IBS-C patients given the drug orally showed significant improvement in abdominal pain over those given placebo during a 26-week trial.”

The article can be found at: Castro J et al. (2013) Linaclotide Inhibits Colonic Nociceptors and Relieves Abdominal Pain via Guanylate Cyclase-C and Extracellular Cyclic Guanosine 3′,5′-Monophosphate.


Source: University of Adelaide; Photo: TipsTimes/Flickr/CC.
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