Pharmacological and nutritional therapy of children and adults with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 Apr;17(4):325-341. doi: 10.1080/17474124.2023.2193887. Epub 2023 Mar 26.


Introduction: Chronic intestinal pseudoobstruction (CIPO) is a rare, heterogenous, and severe form of gastrointestinal dysmotility.

Areas covered: Pertinent literature on pediatric and adult CIPO management has been assessed via PubMed, Scopus, and EMBASE from inception to June 2022. Prokinetics, aimed at restoring intestinal propulsion (e.g. orthopramides and substituted benzamides, acetyl cholinesterase inhibitors, serotonergic agents, and others), have been poorly tested and the available data showed only partial efficacy. Moreover, some prokinetic agents (e.g. orthopramides and substituted benzamides) can cause major side effects. CIPO-related small intestinal bacterial overgrowth requires treatment preferably via poorly absorbable antibiotics to avoid bacterial resistance. Apart from opioids, which worsen gut motility, analgesics should be considered to manage visceral pain, which might dominate the clinical manifestations. Nutritional support, via modified oral feeding, enteral, or parenteral nutrition, is key to halting CIPO-related malnutrition.

Expert opinion: There have been significant roadblocks preventing the development of CIPO treatment. Nonetheless, the considerable advancement in neurogastroenterology and pharmacological agents cast hopes to test the actual efficacy of new prokinetics via well-designed clinical trials. Adequate dietary strategies and supplementation remain of crucial importance. Taken together, novel pharmacological and nutritional options are expected to provide adequate treatments forthese patients.

Keywords: Abdominal pain; antibiotics; digestive symptoms; enteral nutrition; parenteral nutrition; prokinetic agents; severe intestinal dysmotility; small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction* / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction* / drug therapy
  • Intestine, Small
  • Malnutrition* / therapy
  • Nutritional Support / adverse effects
  • Parenteral Nutrition / adverse effects