Efficacy of opioid receptor modulators in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Main idea: This is the meta-analysis to examine the use of opioid receptor modulators in IBS, and few adverse events were reported in the available trials. Compared with the control group, eluxadoline has a better effect on improving IBS global symptoms and abdominal pain and has statistical significance and showed a low rate of constipation development in IBS patients in comparison with known effects of other opioid receptor modulators. However, current findings are based on a considerably limited evidence base with marked heterogeneity.


While irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common functional gastrointestinal diseases in clinical practice, it has diverse pathogenesis. Because of its sudden and lingering intractable symptoms, it seriously affects patients’ work and life. Opioid receptors are G protein-coupled receptors distributed across the brain, spinal cord, skin, and gastrointestinal tract, and each of the subtypes has a unique role and specific distribution. They play a role in regulating gastrointestinal motility, secretion, and visceral sensations in the gastrointestinal tract.

The random-effects meta-analysis based on these 9 studies and their 4156 patients found that opioid receptor modulators have a statistically significant beneficial effect on IBS global symptoms (RR = 0.85, 95%CI = 0.79-0.92, P < .01) and bowel movement frequency (SMD = -1.26, 95%CI = -2.49–0.04, P < .05). However, while there was an improvement trend in stool consistency and quality of life, these findings were not statistically significant.


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