Effect of linaclotide on severe abdominal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Apr;12(4):616-23. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2013.09.022. Epub 2013 Sep 25.


Background & aims: Patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) have abdominal symptoms that vary in severity. Linaclotide, a guanylate cyclase-C agonist, improves abdominal and bowel symptoms in these patients. We examined the prevalence of severe abdominal symptoms in patients with IBS-C and assessed the effects of linaclotide on abdominal symptoms, global measures, and quality of life (QOL).

Methods: In two phase 3 trials, patients who met modified Rome II criteria for IBS-C were randomly assigned to groups given oral, once-daily linaclotide (290 μg) or placebo for 12 weeks. During the baseline (2 weeks prior to treatment) and treatment periods, patients rated abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, fullness, and cramping daily (from 0 = none to 10 = very severe). Linaclotide's effects on abdominal symptoms, global measures, and IBS-related QOL were assessed in subpopulations of patients who rated specific individual abdominal symptoms as severe (≥ 7.0) at baseline.

Results: In the intent-to-treat population (1602 patients; 797 receiving placebo and 805 receiving linaclotide), baseline prevalence values for severe abdominal symptoms were 44% for bloating, 44% for fullness, 32% for discomfort, 23% for pain, and 22% for cramping, with considerable overlap among symptoms. In patients with severe symptoms, linaclotide reduced all abdominal symptoms; mean changes from baseline severity scores ranged from -2.7 to -3.4 for linaclotide vs -1.4 to -1.9 for placebo (P < .0001). Linaclotide improved global measures (P < .0001) and IBS-QOL scores (P < .01) compared with placebo. Diarrhea was the most common adverse event of linaclotide in patients with severe abdominal symptoms (18.8%-21.0%).

Conclusions: Of 5 severe abdominal symptoms assessed, bloating and fullness were most prevalent in patients with IBS-C. Linaclotide significantly improved all abdominal symptoms, global measures, and IBS-QOL in subpopulations of IBS-C patients with severe abdominal symptoms. Clinicaltrials.gov

Numbers: NCT00938717, NCT00948818.

Keywords: Abdominal Pain; Bloating; Guanylate Cyclase-C; IBS-C.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptides / administration & dosage*
  • Placebos / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Peptides
  • Placebos
  • linaclotide

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00938717
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00948818