A randomised controlled study of the effect of cholinesterase inhibition on colon function in patients with diabetes mellitus and constipation
Bharucha AE et al. – Cholinesterase inhibition with oral pyridostigmine accelerates colonic transit and improves bowel function in diabetic patients with chronic constipation.Methods
- After a 9-day baseline period, 30 patients (mean±SEM age 50±2 years) with diabetes mellitus (18 type 1, 12 type 2) and chronic constipation without defaecatory disorder were randomised to oral placebo or pyridostigmine, starting with 60 mg three times a day, increasing by 60 mg every third day up to the maximum tolerated dose or 120 mg three times a day; this dose was maintained for 7 days.
- Gastrointestinal and colonic transit (assessed by scintigraphy) and bowel function were evaluated at baseline and the final 3 and 7 days of treatment, respectively.
- Treatment effects were compared using analysis of covariance, with gender, body mass index and baseline colonic transit as covariates.
- 19 patients (63%) had moderate or severe autonomic dysfunction; 16 (53%) had diabetic retinopathy. 14 of 16 patients randomised to pyridostigmine tolerated 360 mg daily; two patients took 180 mg daily.
- Compared with placebo (mean±SEM 1.98±0.17 (baseline), 1.84±0.16 (treatment)), pyridostigmine accelerated (1.96±0.18 (baseline), 2.45±0.2 units (treatment), p<0.01) overall colonic transit at 24 h, but not gastric emptying or small-intestinal transit.
- Treatment effects on stool frequency, consistency and ease of passage were significant (p ≤0.04).
- Cholinergic side effects were somewhat more common with pyridostigmine (p=0.14) than with placebo.