Chronic constipation affects millions of people in the United States, which often results in visits to physician to get a prescription filed. The extremely inconvenient condition results in great discomfort (which may be at least slightly comically-relieved by the unlimited poo puns it affords). Many medications exist already, but like all drugs, they list a plethora of side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, rectal bleeding, allergic reactions, and more. On top of these side effects, often times the medications fail to offer adequate relief. As such, nearly 50% of patients report being unsatisfied with their treatments. A team of researchers at the Neurogastroenterology and Motility division at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology has released results of a pilot study for its solution: a pill that vibrates to relieve constipation via mechanical stimulation.
The Vibrant pill is equipped with a small internal motor, and is programmed to vibrate 6-8 hours after being swallowed, at a rate of 3 times a minute. This roughly means that the pill will arrive in the lower digestive system before it begins its actions, and that its frequency mimics the pace of the intestine’s natural motions. It’s believed that the pill stimulates further contractions by the intestines to move stool along.
The initial safety studies in 2011 showed no adverse effects, and the pilot study results showed that the vibrating pill doubled the number of bowel movements of 26 patients suffering from chronic idiopathic constipation and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome while using the pill. These results were presented at the ongoing Digestive Disease Week 2014 in Chicago.
“Sometimes, drug therapies bring more issues than relief for these patients,” Dr. Yishai Ron, lead researcher of the study said in a statement. “The results of this study point to the potential for an alternative treatment that avoids the typical drug side effects, such as bloating and electrolyte imbalance, by imitating the body’s natural physiology.”
Provided by Ben Ouyang