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Newly approved constipation drug gives pediatricians more options

Jul. 19, 2023, 9:39 AM


by Jessica Pasley

Constipation in children is a very common issue — an estimated 1 of every 20 pediatrician visits are related to constipation.

Despite the frequency of the problem, there has not been a pharmaceutical treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Until now.

Linzess (linaclotide) — the first therapy for pediatric functional constipation in patients ages 6 to 17 years old— could be a game changer according to a gastroenterologist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Kirk Thame, MBBS

Kirk Thame, MBBS, associate professor of Pediatrics, said the FDA’s green light for Linzess in this age group creates an easier pathway for compliance.

“The general thought is that constipation is something that can be treated in a few days or weeks,” said Thame. “In reality, 50% of children still need treatment after a year.

“As a practitioner, I find that a lot of the issues with treating constipation have to do with compliance. People are not consistent and don’t stick to the plan,” he said. “Many parents will like the new medication because it is much easier to administer to children who do not do well with  relatively large volumes or are sensitive to taste.”

Linzess is available via prescription only. Standard dosing is one capsule given once a day that can be opened and sprinkled on food or mixed in 1 ounce of liquid for children unable to swallow pills.

“The hope is, if people had challenges administering the previous medications, this one will be much easier to give and should have substantial impact,” Thame said.

The FDA first approved Linzess in 2012 for treatment in adults with chronic idiopathic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome with constipation.

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