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Plecanatide for Chronic Constipation


Updated March 17, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Plecanatide is a medication undergoing the initial stages of testing as a potential treatment for chronic constipation. Here is some preliminary information regarding the safety and effectiveness of plecanatide.

What Plecanatide Is:

Plecanatide is a drug taken by mouth that is classified as a "GC-C receptor agonist," similar to the medication linaclotide. In technical terms, plecanatide appears to work by activating GC-C (guanylate cyclase C) receptors within the lining of the intestinal tract. This activation increases the amount of chloride and water secreted by the intestine, which contributes to an increased frequency of bowel movements. Plecanatide is thought to act locally within the intestines, thus reducing the likelihood of unwanted side effects.

Potential Effectiveness:

As of this writing, plecanatide has only undergone the very preliminary stages of the clinical trial process. In a small Phase II trial with patients who suffer from chronic constipation, plecanatide given over a consecutive two-week period was superior to placebo in increasing the frequency of bowel movements and decreasing straining and abdominal discomfort. No serious side effects and notably, no symptoms of diarrhea, were reported.

Plecanatide is currently undergoing Phase III testing with patients with chronic constipation and Phase II testing for constipation predominant IBS (IBS-C). These trials will help to increase the knowledge base regarding the medication's safety and effectiveness.


Maneerattanaporn, M., Chang, L., & Chey, W. "Emerging Pharmacological Therapies for the Irritable Bowel Syndrome" Gastroenterology Clinics of North America 2011 40:22-243.

"Synergy Pharmaceuticals Announces Positive Phase IIa Results with Plecanatide to Treat Chronic Constipation" Synergy Pharmaceuticals Press Release Dated October 6, 2010.

"Synergy Pharmaceuticals Announces New Clinical Development Plan for Plecanatide" Synergy Pharmaceuticals Press Release" Dated January 7, 2011.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.

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