Pharmacotherapy for intestinal motor and sensory disorders

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2003 Jun;32(2):707-32, viii-ix. doi: 10.1016/s0889-8553(03)00027-x.


Motor disorders of the gastrointestinal tract are characterized by definable impairments of gut contractile function. Other conditions exhibit specific disturbances of visceral afferent and efferent activity, which may underlie selected symptom complexes. Medications in several classes have been developed to treat these disorders of gastrointestinal function. Prokinetic agents are effective therapies for ailments with reduced motor function, whereas antispasmodic drugs reduce symptoms in conditions with exaggerated pressure wave activity. Recently, medications designed to blunt transmission in visceral sensory pathways have been proposed for use in the functional bowel disorders. Finally, some patients may benefit from initiation of nonspecific therapies, which have no appreciable effect on gut motor or sensory function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antidiarrheals / therapeutic use
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / complications
  • Intestinal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Intestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / therapeutic use
  • Parasympathomimetics / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone / agonists
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / agonists
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide / therapeutic use
  • Somatosensory Disorders / complications
  • Somatosensory Disorders / drug therapy
  • Somatosensory Disorders / physiopathology


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antidiarrheals
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Parasympathomimetics
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone
  • Receptors, Neuropeptide
  • motilin receptor