Opioid Antagonist Speeds Abdominal Surgery Recovery

BOSTON-A frequent problem with abdominal surgery is afterward, the digestive system has a tendency to shut down for several days. This extends a patient's recovery time, increasing healthcare costs and the time demanded on the hospital per patient.

A new analgesic created in the labs of the biopharmaceutical company Adolor Corp., may reduce both the cost and recovery time associated with abdominal surgery by helping the digestive tract function properly.

ADL 8-2698 is a new opioid antagonist that reportedly does not cross the blood-brain barrier, meaning the drug can relieve pain during recovery. Pharmaceuticals usually given during abdominal surgeries, including morphine and other opium-based painkillers, tend to aggravate the digestive tract. Because ADL 8-2698 is an opioid antagonist-a synthetic narcotic not derived from opium, the condition does not occur.

A trial of the drug was conducted on 79 patients who were set to undergo hysterectomies or partial removal of the colon. With surgery being cancelled for one patient, the group was left with 15 undergoing partial colectomies and 63 having total abdominal hysterectomies. The group was randomly split and given either the drug or a placebo.

The ADL 8-2698 group received one capsule 2 hours before their surgery and then one twice daily after surgery until they had their first bowel movement. These patients had a significantly faster recovery time of 70 hours compared to those patients who received a placebo. The placebo group recovered on average after 111 hours.

The opioid antagonist had been tested previously to control the pain of patients undergoing other procedures, but this was the first study examining the affects of the drug on abdominal surgeries.

For more information about Exton, Pa based Adolor Corp., log onto: www.adolor.com

Information from www.givenimaging.com, Reuters Health