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Prucalopride for Chronic Constipation

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Updated March 17, 2014

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

Prucalopride is a medication designed to treat chronic constipation. The following questions and answers will provide you with an overall knowledge of the benefits and limitations of prucalopride.

Is Prucalopride Available?:

Prucalopride is currently only available in Europe, under the name brand name "Resolor" and in Canada as "Resotran". The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the use of prucalopride (Resolor) only for the treatment of chronic constipation in women who have not responded to the use of laxatives. Studies are being conducted to obtain approval through the EMA for use of prucalopride in men who suffer from chronic constipation.

Although there is a substantial bank of data showing that the drug is more effective than placebo, it's not clear if and when the drug will be available in the U.S. It has not passed approval by the FDA.

How Does Prucalopride Work?:

Prucalopride is characterized as a 5-HT4 agonist. This means that it activates the 5-HT4 receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin. This activation is thought to increase the motility of the intestinal system. This increase in motility results in more frequent bowel movements.

Prucalopride is of the same class of medications as Zelnorm. However, prucalopride has been designed to have a different action on the body so as to reduce the likelihood of the rare but serious cardiovascular symptoms that resulted in Zelnorm being pulled off of the market.

How Effective Is Prucalopride at Treating Chronic Constipation?:

In clinical trials to date, prucalopride has been shown to be superior to placebo in the following areas:

  • Increasing the frequency of spontaneous and complete bowel movements.
  • Improving patient perception of quality of life.
  • Resulting in patient perception that constipation is less of a problem.

What Are the Side Effects of Prucalopride?:

In studies to date, the following side effects have been experienced:

Does Prucalopide Help IBS?:

Studies to date have focused primarily on prucalopride as a treatment for chronic constipation. It is hoped that further research will be conducted as to prucalopride's effectiveness at treating IBS-C.

Sources:

Ford, A. & Suares, N. "Effect of laxatives and pharmacological therapies in chronic idiopathic constipation: systematic review and meta-analysis" Gut 2011 60:209-218.

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

"Movetis starts phase III clinical trial with prucalopride in male patients with chronic constipation" Movetis NV Press Release September 24, 2010.

"Resolor" European Medicines Agency Accessed March 17, 2011.

Quigley, E. "Prucalopride: safety, efficacy and potential applications Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 2012 5:23-30.

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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