Letters To The Editor
Copyright ©2008 The WJG Press and Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Sep 7, 2008; 14(33): 5226-5227
Published online Sep 7, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.5226
Management of constipation in the elderly: Emerging therapeutic strategies
Shailendra Kapoor
Shailendra Kapoor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, United States
Author contributions: Kapoor S contributed all to this paper.
Correspondence to: Shailendra Kapoor, MD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago IL-60612, United States. shailendrakapoor@yahoo.com
Telephone: +1-312-3441704 Fax: +1-312-1441464
Received: June 9, 2008
Revised: August 14, 2008
Accepted: August 21, 2008
Published online: September 7, 2008

A number of new, novel strategies for managing constipation in the elderly have emerged over the past few years. Prucalopride is one such new agent that is highly efficacious in managing chronic constipation. In fact, Camilleri et al in a recent study reported that the average number of bowel movements increased by at least one in nearly 47% of the patients who were administered a dose of 4 mg. Lubiprostone is another new agent recently approved by the FDA that shows efficacy in managing the symptoms of constipation. Neostigmine has also been successfully used for the management of recalcitrant constipation. Most of these studies have used subcutaneous neostigmine. Symbiotic yogurt containing components, such as Bifidobacterium and fructoligosaccharide, have also been recently shown to be highly effective in improving symptoms of constipation. Elderly patients especially those in hospices and nursing homes are often on opiods for pain management. Constipation secondary to opioid use is extremely common in nursing homes. Subcutaneous methylnaltrexone has recently been shown to be highly effective in the management of opioid-related constipation, and was recently approved by the FDA. Sacral nerve stimulation is another emerging strategy. A recent analysis by Mowatt et al supports the efficacy of this technique. Botulinum toxin is another agent that has already been successfully used for the management of chronic, refractory constipation in children and may be very effective for elderly constipation. Further larger studies are needed to confirm the findings noted in these studies. Constipation is clearly a major issue in the elderly and these new, emerging strategies will hopefully improve the quality of life and relieve the symptoms of constipation in this population.

Keywords: Constipation, Prucalopride, Lubiprostone, Neostigmine, Methylnaltrexone