The guanylate cyclase C agonist, linaclotide (Linzess), doubled weekly bowel movements among children age 6 and younger, helping to treat pediatric patients with functional constipation, according to a study published in Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology. As a recently approved treatment option, linaclotide demonstrated improvement in frequency over placebo with 57% of patients in the treatment group experiencing a spontaneous bowel movement within the first 48 hours of receiving the drug. Authors also observed improvement in a range of other symptoms associated with functional constipation in pediatric patients 6-17 years of age, such as straining and bloating. In terms of adverse events, diarrhea was reported in 4% of patients in the linaclotide group, and dehydration was reported in one patient among the 328 participants.
Back to normal: Constipation affects up to 30% of children and leads to visits to the urgent care and the pediatrician. More options for treatment means more satisfied parents, better quality of life, and fewer days off school.