Effect of calcium polycarbophil on irritable bowel syndrome

S. Fukudo, M. Hongo, N. Hiwatashi, H. Kawarada, K. Azumi, Y. Hirasawa, K. Yamashita, M. Sato, D. Shibuya, M. Ohara, A. Sato, K. Tadokoro, M. Atsumi, T. Toyota

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Calcium polycarbophil (compacted form, HSR-237, Hokuriku Seiyaku Co., Ltd., Japan) is the high-molecular polymer that uptakes water in the own molecule. This non-absorbable agent is expected to change the stool form in the gut. The effect of polycarbophil (3.0 g/day, t.i.d.) on symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS, n=42) were studied. The study is the part of phase III clinical trials of the agent for the oriental population. The duration of administration ranged from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks, general improvement score showed excellent in 9 (22%) cases and good in 16 (39%) cases. The score indicated the same pattern (excellent and good in 67% of cases) at the end of 12 weeks. Polycarbophil improved the major IBS symptoms; abdominal pain in 66%, abdominal distention in 47%, borborygmi in 58%, altered stool frequency in 62%, altered stool form in 50%, and incomplete evacuation in 41% of the cases, respectively. In diarrhea-predominant cases (n=25), this agent significantly reduced the stool frequency (baseline: 3.6±0.4 times/day, mean±SE, vs after medication: 2.3±0.4 times/day, p<0.001). Polycarbophil inversely facilitated the stool frequency in constipation-predominant cases (n=13, baseline: 2.3±0.2 times/week vs after medication: 4.7±0.5 times/week, p<0.005). No major side effects nor abnormality in urinalysis/blood chemical analysis was found. Because other clinical studies of this compound certified the efficacy in IBS, our data suggest that polycarbophil is useful for IBS in the oriental population. Furthermore, extraordinary low incidence of the adverse effects enables us safely to apply this agent to IBS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-139
Number of pages17
JournalJapanese Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Calcium polycarbophil
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stool form
  • Stool frequency
  • Symptoms


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