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A drug to help restore bowel function in patients with late-stage, advanced illness who are receiving opioids to help alleviate their pain has been approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration.
Opioids are often used to help patients diagnosed with illnesses such as incurable cancer or heart failure but can interfere with normal bowel elimination function by relaxing the intestinal smooth muscles, stopping them from contracting and pushing out waste products
Relistor (methylnaltrexone bromide), an injectable medication, blocks opioid entrance into the cells which allows the bowels to function normally.
Joyce Korvick, MD, deputy director of the Division of Gastroenterology Products, FDA said: “This new drug will be helpful to patients who experience severe constipation associated with the continuous use of morphine or other opioids, which are an important part of care for patients with late-stage, advanced illness.”
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