Lubiprostone: chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2009 Jan;10(1):143-52. doi: 10.1517/14656560802631319.


Lubiprostone is a bicyclic fatty acid metabolite analogue of prostaglandin E1. The FDA has approved lubiprostone for the treatment of chronic constipation in men and women and the treatment of women with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). Lubiprostone specifically activates type-2-chloride channels on the apical membrane of epithelial cells. Lubiprostone acts locally within the intestinal tract, is rapidly metabolized and has very low systemic bioavailability. Animal studies have demonstrated that lubiprostone increases gastrointestinal fluid secretion in a dose-dependent manner. Clinical studies performed in men and women with chronic constipation using 24 microg of lubiprostone twice-daily demonstrated objective improvement in stool frequency and consistency, as well as symptoms of straining and incomplete evacuation. A multi-center study of patients with IBS-C found that 8 microg of lubiprostone twice-daily improved both global and individual symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Lubiprostone is generally well tolerated and serious adverse events are rare. The most common reported side effects are nausea, headache and diarrhea. This monograph provides a brief overview on chloride channel function in the gastrointestinal tract, describes the structure, function, and pharmacokinetics of lubiprostone, and discusses the safety and efficacy of this new medication for the treatment of chronic constipation and IBS-C.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alprostadil / administration & dosage
  • Alprostadil / adverse effects
  • Alprostadil / analogs & derivatives*
  • Alprostadil / pharmacology
  • Alprostadil / therapeutic use
  • CLC-2 Chloride Channels
  • Chloride Channels / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / complications
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / pharmacology
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / drug effects
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Lubiprostone
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • CLC-2 Chloride Channels
  • Chloride Channels
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Lubiprostone
  • Alprostadil