A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of prucalopride in elderly patients with chronic constipation

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2010 Sep;22(9):991-8, e255. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2010.01533.x. Epub 2010 Jun 7.


Background: Constipation affects up to 50% of the elderly; this study evaluates the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of the selective 5-HT(4) agonist prucalopride in chronically constipated elderly patients.

Methods: Three hundred chronic constipation patients aged >or=65 years were randomized to prucalopride (1, 2, or 4 mg once daily) or placebo for 4 weeks. The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients with >or=3 spontaneous complete bowel movements (SCBM) per week. Secondary endpoints included the percentage with an increase of >or=1 SCBM per week, BM frequency, constipation-related symptoms, quality of life (QoL), safety, and tolerability.

Key results: More patients achieved >or=3 SCBM per week with prucalopride than with placebo. This difference was largest and significant during the first week of 4 mg prucalopride (P <or= 0.05). Significantly more patients in each prucalopride group achieved an increase of >or=1 SCBM per week from baseline vs placebo (e.g. 60% with 1 mg prucalopride vs 34% with placebo at week 4; P <or= 0.05). More patients had improvement in PAC-QOL satisfaction score of >or=1 with 1 mg prucalopride than with placebo (P <or= 0.05); the same was true for PAC-SYM stool symptoms (1 and 4 mg prucalopride; P <or= 0.05). Treatment-emergent adverse events were similar between groups: the most frequently reported with prucalopride were headache and gastrointestinal events. There were no clinically significant differences between prucalopride and placebo for vital signs, laboratory assessments, or ECG variables.

Conclusions & inferences: Prucalopride, in the dose-range tested (1-4 mg once daily), has beneficial effects on bowel movements, symptoms, and QoL, and is safe and well-tolerated in elderly patients with chronic constipation.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00487422.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Benzofurans / therapeutic use*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chronic Disease / drug therapy
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Defecation / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Benzofurans
  • prucalopride

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00487422