"Aug. 10, 2011 -- Two studies show that a new kind of experimental medication relieves the pain and bloating of persistent constipation better than a placebo.
The studies, which are published in the New England Journal of Medicine/"...
Mechanism of Action
Lubiprostone is a locally acting chloride channel activator that enhances a chloride-rich intestinal fluid secretion without altering sodium and potassium concentrations in the serum. Lubiprostone acts by specifically activating ClC-2, which is a normal constituent of the apical membrane of the human intestine, in a protein kinase A–independent fashion. By increasing intestinal fluid secretion, lubiprostone increases motility in the intestine, thereby facilitating the passage of stool and alleviating symptoms associated with chronic idiopathic constipation. Patch clamp cell studies in human cell lines have indicated that the majority of the beneficial biological activity of lubiprostone and its metabolites is observed only on the apical (luminal) portion of the gastrointestinal epithelium. Additionally, activation of ClC-2 by lubiprostone has been shown to stimulate recovery of mucosal barrier function and reduce intestinal permeability via the restoration of tight junction protein complexes in ex vivo studies of ischemic porcine intestine.
Although the pharmacologic effects of lubiprostone in humans have not been fully evaluated, animal studies have shown that oral administration of lubiprostone increases chloride ion transport into the intestinal lumen, enhances fluid secretion into the bowels, and improves fecal transit.
Lubiprostone has low systemic availability following oral administration and concentrations of lubiprostone in plasma are below the level of quantitation (10 pg/mL). Therefore, standard pharmacokinetic parameters such as area under the curve (AUC), maximum concentration (Cmax), and half-life (t½) cannot be reliably calculated. However, the pharmacokinetic parameters of M3 (only measurable active metabolite of lubiprostone) have been characterized. Gender has no effect on the pharmacokinetics of M3 following the oral administration of lubiprostone.
Concentrations of lubiprostone in plasma are below the level of quantitation (10 pg/mL) because lubiprostone has a low systemic availability following oral administration. Peak plasma levels of M3, after a single oral dose with 24 mcg of lubiprostone, occurred at approximately 1.10 hours. The Cmax was 41.5 pg/mL and the mean AUC0–t was 57.1 pg·hr/mL. The AUC0–t of M3 increases dose proportionally after single 24-mcg and 144-mcg doses of lubiprostone.
In vitro protein binding studies indicate lubiprostone is approximately 94% bound to human plasma proteins. Studies in rats given radiolabeled lubiprostone indicate minimal distribution beyond the gastrointestinal tissues. Concentrations of radiolabeled lubiprostone at 48 hours post-administration were minimal in all tissues of the rats.
The results of both human and animal studies indicate that lubiprostone is rapidly and extensively metabolized by 15-position reduction, α-chain β-oxidation, and ε-chain ε-oxidation. These biotransformations are not mediated by the hepatic cytochrome P450 system but rather appear to be mediated by the ubiquitously expressed carbonyl reductase. M3, a metabolite of lubiprostone found in both humans and animals, is formed by the reduction of the carbonyl group at the 15-hydroxy moiety that consists of both α-hydroxy and β-hydroxy epimers. M3 makes up less than 10% of the dose of radiolabeled lubiprostone. Animal studies have shown that metabolism of lubiprostone rapidly occurs within the stomach and jejunum, most likely in the absence of any systemic absorption. This is presumed to be the case in humans as well.
Lubiprostone could not be detected in plasma; however, M3 has a t½ ranging from 0.9 to 1.4 hours. After a single oral dose of 72 mcg of 3H-labeled lubiprostone, 60% of total administered radioactivity was recovered in the urine within 24 hours and 30% of total administered radioactivity was recovered in the feces by 168 hours. Lubiprostone and M3 are only detected in trace amounts in human feces.
A study was conducted with a single 72-mcg dose of 3H-labeled lubiprostone to evaluate the potential of a food effect on lubiprostone absorption, metabolism, and excretion. Pharmacokinetic parameters of total radioactivity demonstrated that Cmax decreased by 55% while AUC0–∞ was unchanged when lubiprostone was administered with a high-fat meal. The clinical relevance of the effect of food on the pharmacokinetics of lubiprostone is not clear. However, lubiprostone was administered with food and water in a majority of clinical trials.
Sixteen subjects, 34–47 years old (8 severe renally impaired subjects [creatinine clearance (CrCl) < 20 mL/min] who required hemodialysis and 8 control subjects with normal renal function [CrCl > 80 mL/min]), received a single oral 24-mcg dose of Amitiza. Following administration, lubiprostone plasma concentrations were below the limit of quantitation (10 pg/mL). Plasma concentrations of M3 were within the range of exposure from previous clinical experience with Amitiza. Thus there is no need for Amitiza dosage adjustment in patients with impaired renal function.
Twenty-five subjects, 38–78 years old (9 with severe hepatic impairment [Child-Pugh Class C], 8 with moderate impairment [Child-Pugh Class B], and 8 with normal liver function), received either 12 mcg or 24 mcg of Amitiza under fasting conditions. Following administration, lubiprostone plasma concentrations were below the limit of quantitation (10 pg/mL) except for two subjects. In moderately and severely impaired subjects, the Cmax and AUC0–t of M3 were increased, as shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Pharmacokinetic Parameters of M3 for Subjects
with Normal or Impaired Liver Function following Dosing with Amitiza
|Liver Function Status||Mean (SD) AUC0–t (pg•hr/mL)||% Change vs. Normal||Mean (SD) Cmax (pg/mL)||% Change vs. Normal|
|Normal (n=8)||39.6 (18.7)||n.a.||37.5 (15.9)||n.a.|
|Child-Pugh Class B (n=8)||119 (104)||+119||70.9 (43.5)||+66|
|Child-Pugh Class C (n=8)||234 (61.6)||+521||114 (59.4)||+183|
These results demonstrate that there is a correlation between increased exposure of M3 and severity of hepatic impairment. In conjunction with the clinical safety results, which demonstrate an increased incidence and severity of adverse events in subjects with greater severity of hepatic impairment, the starting dosage should be reduced in patients with hepatic impairment receiving Amitiza [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION]. No dosing adjustment is required in patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Class A).
Chronic Idiopathic Constipation
A dose-finding, double-blinded, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, Phase 2 study was conducted in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation. Following a 2-week baseline/washout period, patients (N = 127) were randomized to receive placebo (n = 33), Amitiza 24 mcg/day (24 mcg once daily; n = 29), Amitiza 48 mcg/day (24 mcg twice daily; n = 32), or Amitiza 72 mcg/day (24 mcg three times daily; n = 33) for 3 weeks. Patients were chosen for participation based on their need for relief of constipation, which was defined as less than 3 spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs) per week. The primary efficacy variable was the daily average number of SBMs.
The study demonstrated that all patients who took Amitiza experienced a noticeable improvement in clinical response. Based on the efficacy analysis, there was no statistically significant improvement in the clinical response beyond a total daily dose of 24 mcg during treatment weeks 2 and 3 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Weekly Mean (± Standard Error) Spontaneous
Bowel Movements (Dose-finding Study)
Two double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies of identical design were conducted in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation. Chronic idiopathic constipation was defined as, on average, less than 3 SBMs per week along with one or more of the following symptoms of constipation for at least 6 months prior to randomization: 1) very hard stools for at least a quarter of all bowel movements; 2) sensation of incomplete evacuation following at least a quarter of all bowel movements; and 3) straining with defecation at least a quarter of the time.
Following a 2-week baseline/washout period, a total of 479 patients (mean age 47.2 [range 20– 81] years; 88.9% female; 80.8% Caucasian, 9.6% African American, 7.3% Hispanic, 1.5% Asian; 10.9% ≥ 65 years of age) were randomized and received Amitiza 24 mcg twice daily (48 mcg/day) or placebo twice daily for 4 weeks. The primary endpoint of the studies was SBM frequency. The studies demonstrated that patients treated with Amitiza had a higher frequency of SBMs during Week 1 than the placebo patients. In both studies, results similar to those in Week 1 were also observed in Weeks 2, 3, and 4 of therapy (Table 4).
Table 4: Spontaneous Bowel Movement Frequency Rates1
|Trial||Study Arm||Baseline Mean± SD Median||Week 1 Mean ± SD Median||Week 2 Mean ± SD Median||Week 3 Mean ± SD Median||Week 4 Mean ± SD Median||Week 1 Change from Baseline Mean ± SD Median||Week 4 Change from Baseline Mean ± SD Median|
|Study 1||Placebo||1.6 ± 1.3 1.5||3.5 ± 2.3 3.0||3.2 ± 2.5 3.0||2.8 ± 2.2 2.0||2.9 ± 2.4 2.3||1.9 ± 2.2 1.5||1.3 ± 2.5 1.0|
|Amitiza 24 mcg Twice Daily||1.4 ± 0.8 1.5||5.7 ± 4.4 5.0||5.1 ± 4.1 4.0||5.3 ± 4.9 5.0||5.3 ± 4.7 4.0||4.3 ± 4.3 3.5||3.9 ± 4.6 3.0|
|Study 2||Placebo||1.5 ± 0.8 1.5||4.0 ± 2.7 3.5||3.6 ± 2.7 3.0||3.4 ± 2.8 3.0||3.5 ± 2.9 3.0||2.5 ± 2.6 1.5||1.9 ± 2.7 1.5|
|Amitiza 24 mcg Twice Daily||1.3 ± 0.9 1.5||5.9 ± 4.0 5.0||5.0 ± 4.2 4.0||5.6 ± 4.6 5.0||5.4 ± 4.8 4.3||4.6 ± 4.1 3.8||4.1 ± 4.8 3.0|
|1Frequency rates are calculated as 7 times (number of SBMs) / (number of days observed for that week).|
In both studies, Amitiza demonstrated increases in the percentage of patients who experienced SBMs within the first 24 hours after administration when compared to placebo (56.7% vs. 36.9% in Study 1 and 62.9% vs. 31.9% in Study 2, respectively). Similarly, the time to first SBM was shorter for patients receiving Amitiza than for those receiving placebo.
Signs and symptoms related to constipation, including abdominal bloating, abdominal discomfort, stool consistency, and straining, as well as constipation severity ratings, were also improved with Amitiza versus placebo. The results were consistent in subpopulation analyses for gender, race, and elderly patients ( ≥ 65 years of age).
Following 4 weeks of treatment with Amitiza 24 mcg twice daily, withdrawal of Amitiza did not result in a rebound effect.
Three open-labeled, long-term clinical safety and efficacy studies were conducted in patients with chronic idiopathic constipation receiving Amitiza 24 mcg twice daily. These studies comprised 871 patients (mean age 51.0 [range 19–86] years; 86.1% female; 86.9% Caucasian, 7.3% African American, 4.5% Hispanic, 0.7% Asian; 18.4% ≥ 65 years of age) who were treated for 6–12 months (24–48 weeks). Patients provided regular assessments of abdominal bloating, abdominal discomfort, and constipation severity. These studies demonstrated that Amitiza decreased abdominal bloating, abdominal discomfort, and constipation severity over the 6–12month treatment periods.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation
Two double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies of similar design were conducted in patients with IBS-C. IBS was defined as abdominal pain or discomfort occurring over at least 6 months with two or more of the following: 1) relieved with defecation; 2) onset associated with a change in stool frequency; and 3) onset associated with a change in stool form. Patients were sub-typed as having IBS-C if they also experienced two of three of the following: 1) < 3 spontaneous bowel movements per week, 2) > 25% hard stools, and 3) > 25% spontaneous bowel movements associated with straining.
Following a 4-week baseline/washout period, a total of 1154 patients (mean age 46.6 [range 18– 85] years; 91.6% female; 77.4% Caucasian, 13.2% African American, 8.5% Hispanic, 0.4% Asian; 8.3% ≥ 65 years of age) were randomized and received Amitiza 8 mcg twice daily (16 mcg/day) or placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. The primary efficacy endpoint was assessed weekly utilizing the patient's response to a global symptom relief question based on a 7-point, balanced scale (“significantly worse” to “significantly relieved”): “How would you rate your relief of IBS symptoms (abdominal discomfort/pain, bowel habits, and other IBS symptoms) over the past week compared to how you felt before you entered the study?”
The primary efficacy analysis was a comparison of the proportion of “overall responders” in each arm. A patient was considered an “overall responder” if the criteria for being designated a “monthly responder” were met in at least 2 of the 3 months on study. A “monthly responder” was defined as a patient who had reported “significantly relieved” for at least 2 weeks of the month or at least “moderately relieved” in all 4 weeks of that month. During each monthly evaluation period, patients reporting “moderately worse” or “significantly worse” relief, an increase in rescue medication use, or those who discontinued due to lack of efficacy, were deemed non-responders.
The percentage of patients in Study 1 qualifying as an “overall responder” was 13.8% in the group receiving Amitiza 8 mcg twice daily compared to 7.8% of patients receiving placebo twice daily. In Study 2, 12.1% of patients in the Amitiza 8 mcg group were “overall responders” versus 5.7% of patients in the placebo group. In both studies, the treatment differences between the placebo and Amitiza groups were statistically significant.
Results in men: The two randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded studies comprised 97 (8.4%) male patients, which is insufficient to determine whether men with IBS-C respond differently to Amitiza from women.
Study 1 also assessed the rebound effect from the withdrawal of Amitiza. Following 12 weeks of treatment with Amitiza 8 mcg twice daily, withdrawal of Amitiza did not result in a rebound effect.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/7/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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