Effects of Lubiprostone, an Intestinal Secretagogue, on Electrolyte Homeostasis in Chronic Idiopathic and Opioid-induced Constipation

Satish S.C. Rao, Peter Lichtlen, Sepideh Habibi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Goals: To assess short-term and long-term effects of lubiprostone, a type-2 chloride channel activator, on electrolyte homeostasis. Background: Conventional laxatives are associated with electrolyte imbalances. Lubiprostone is a type-2 chloride channel activator approved for treating chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), opioid-induced constipation (OIC), and constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome in women. It induces intestinal fluid secretion, possibly affecting water and electrolyte homeostasis. We investigated short-term and long-term effects of lubiprostone on electrolyte, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine levels using pooled data from CIC and OIC patients. Study: Data were pooled from 10 CIC and OIC studies - 6 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies and 4 open-label, long-term studies. Total duration of lubiprostone exposure was from 3 weeks (short-term: CIC, 3 to 4 wk; OIC, placebo-controlled, 12 wk) to 48 weeks (long-term: CIC, 24 to 48 wk; OIC, 48 wk). Sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, BUN, and creatinine levels were examined at baseline and final assessment. Results: Overall, 3209 patients were assessed. In the double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, there were no clinically meaningful differences in levels of electrolytes, BUN, and creatinine between lubiprostone and placebo groups, and in changes from baseline levels with long-term use of lubiprostone. Analyses of shifts in laboratory values (low/normal/high) at baseline and final assessment showed minimal effects on electrolytes, BUN, and creatinine. Conclusions: Lubiprostone did not cause clinically meaningful electrolyte imbalances or affect markers of renal function in either the short-term or long-term treatment of CIC or OIC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-519
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • chronic idiopathic constipation
  • electrolyte homeostasis
  • irritable bowel syndrome with constipation
  • lubiprostone
  • opioid-induced constipation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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