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Drug halves risk of intestinal paralysis after abdominal surgery

Recovery from abdominal surgery is often slowed by a temporary paralysis of the intestines known as ileus, but in a recent phase II clinical trial, prucalopride – a drug that stimulates motility – cut the risk of ileus lasting for more than 5 days in half.

In 110 patients undergoing abdominal surgery, only 16.4% of patients taking prucalopride for up to 7 days after surgery experienced ileus, compared with 34.5% of patients taking a placebo.

“Additional studies are warranted to validate our findings and assess the effect of prucalopride in patients with established prolonged post-operative ileus,” said Prof. Weiming Zhu, co-author of the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics study.

Study: Randomised clinical trial: prucalopride, a colonic pro-motility agent, reduces the duration of post-operative ileus after elective gastrointestinal surgery, Gong, J., Xie, Z., Zhang, T., Gu, L., Yao, W., Guo, Z., Li, Y., Lu, N., Zhu, W., Li, N. and Li, J., Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, doi: 10.1111/apt.13557, published online 15 February 2016.