More than 60% of people with Parkinson's report constipation. Constipation is one of the more common non-motor symptoms of PD. Some people report mild symptoms that are easily managed with different forms of treatment, while others can experience more chronic and severe symptoms that are hard to get under control. A new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine took a deeper look into constipation and PD and possible treatments.
Most of our gastrointestinal (GI) tract is muscle, which means it can be impacted by Parkinson's just like our walking (moving slower). We can also see strength and coordination changes within our GI tract which all can lead to constipation.
The clinical trial found a possible treatment for constipation in those with PD. 150 people with PD and constipation were enrolled and randomly given either a placebo pill or a compound that was developed by Enterin, a biotech company. The compound is called ENT-01 and it was designed to act on nerve cells in the GI tract. A previous study showed that ENT-01 was not absorbed into the body, leading researchers to conclude that is only acts in our GI system.
The study results
Those who received ENT-01 showed a significant increase in number of daily bowel movements. Pre clinical trial, these people were experiencing on average 0.7 bowel movements a week and during the trial they experienced 3.2 bowel movements a week.
Those who received the placebo pill experienced 1.2 bowel movements a week.
Those who received ENT-01 reported a better stool consistency and more ease with stool passage.
No serious side effects were reported, but nausea (33% of participants) and diarrhea (20% of participants) was reported.
A small number of people with psychosis saw improvements in symptoms, but the authors of this study emphasized that this study was not designed to examine any changes in cognition and more research would need to be conducted. The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech has designed a study that will assess the impact of ENT-01 on those with Parkinson’s who experience memory problems.
What does this mean?
ENT-01 is not currently available for the public, but ENT-01 may be a treatment option for people with PD within the next few years. Ongoing research on this topic continues to shed some light onto this common but not always discussed non-motor symptom. If you are experiencing constipation, read our blog post about other options that are available to you and talk with your doctor. It is possible ENT-01 may not be on their radar yet and sharing this information may spark new ideas for other treatment options for you.