In the 1980s, Sucampo’s founder discovered the therapeutic potential of a class of naturally occurring compounds called prostones.
The elucidation that prostones, which are natural metabolites of prostaglandins (PG) that have no remaining clinically relevant activity towards PG receptors but instead are selective and potent activators of ion channels, revealed their potential in targeting treatment for an array of human diseases.
This discovery resulted in approvals of lubiprostone for treatment of chronic constipation, chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in adults, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) in adult women and opioid-induced constipation (OIC) in adults with chronic non-cancer pain (click on the region to review the prescribing information for the approved indication).
Characterized by the difficult or infrequent passage of stool, often accompanied by straining or a sensation of incomplete evacuation, constipation is a common complaint for many people. It has been shown to significantly impair patients’ quality of life.
Sucampo developed the compound now known as lubiprostone, brand name AMITIZA, a synthetic analogue of natural prostones, which had been optimized to carry all necessary characteristics to be used as a medicinal product. Lubiprostone is a locally acting activator of ClC-2 chloride channel that increases intestinal fluid secretion, facilitates stool passage, stimulates recovery of mucosal barrier function and reduces intestinal permeability. Thus AMITIZA has a different mechanism of action from other products, such as fiber and laxatives.
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