The AGA Journals Blog highlights the latest discoveries in gastroenterology and hepatology research.

Relief from Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had significant improvements in bowel habits and reductions in abdominal pain after taking a new drug called linaclotide, reports a study published in the December issue of Gastroenterology.

Jeffrey M. Johnston et al. performed a placebo-controlled phase 2 trial of 4 different doses of linaclotide in 420 patients with IBS and constipation. All doses significantly reduced pain, bloating, and constipation compared with placebo within the first week; improvements continued for the 3 months of the trial. The only adverse event was mild to moderate diarrhea.

Linaclotide binds and activates the guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C) receptor on the luminal surface of intestinal enterocytes to increase intracellular cGMP levels; this opens anion channels, increasing fluid secretion into the intestinal lumen and accelerating fluid transit. Linaclotide has also been shown to have anti-pain effects in animal models.

The 300 µg/day dose of linaclotide will be further evaluated in patients with IBS and constipation in phase 3 trials. Click here for a list of clinical trials of linaclotide for IBS.

Change in complete spontaneous bowel movement (CSBM) and abdominal pain among patients with IBS given different doses of linaclotide or placebo.

Further Reading on Linaclotide:

Read the article online:
Johnston JM, Kurtz CB, MacDougall JE, et al. Linaclotide improves abdominal pain and bowel habits in a phase IIb study of patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. Gastroenterology 2010;139:1877–1886.e2.

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Erin Landis

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About The Author:

Dr. Kristine Novak

Dr. Kristine Novak

Dr. Kristine Novak is a science writer and editor based in San Francisco. She has extensive experience covering gastroenterology, hepatology, immunology, oncology, clinical, and biotechnology research discoveries.

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