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20-12-2010 | General practice | Article

NICE recommends constipation drug

Abstract

NICE final guidance: Prucalopride for the treatment of chronic constipation in women

GPs will have a new treatment option for women with chronic constipation for whom laxatives have failed to provide adequate relief, after the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence (NICE) approves the drug prucalopride.

The drug is only recommended for women who have tried at least two different types of laxatives from different classes - at the highest tolerated recommended doses - for at least 6 months without relief and in whom invasive treatment is being considered.

The Institute stresses that the drug should only be prescribed by a GP with experience of treating chronic constipation, and who has full knowledge of the woman's previous course of laxative treatment. Also, if treatment with prucalopride has not been effective after 4 weeks, GPs should consider discontinuing treatment.

Professor Peter Littlejohns, Clinical Public Health Director at NICE, said: "Chronic constipation, although not life-threatening, can have a significant effect on quality of life, often accompanied by a host of unpleasant symptoms, like irritability, lethargy and painful bloating.

"We are pleased, therefore, to be able to recommend prucalopride as a clinically and cost-effective treatment for some women whose chronic constipation has not been managed with standard laxatives."

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