About Opioids, Constipation and RELISTOR (methylnaltrexone bromide)
Opioid analgesics are frequently prescribed to manage pain in patients with advanced illness. Constipation commonly occurs in palliative-care patients receiving opioid therapy for pain. RELISTOR is the first approved medication that specifically targets the underlying cause of OIC in these patients. Opioids relieve pain by specifically interacting with mu-opioid receptors within the brain and spinal cord of the central nervous system (CNS). However, opioids also interact with mu-opioid receptors found outside the CNS, such as those within the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in constipation that can be debilitating. RELISTOR is a peripherally acting mu-opioid receptor antagonist that decreases the constipating effects of opioid pain medications without affecting their ability to relieve pain. RELISTOR selectively displaces opioids from the mu-opioid receptors outside the CNS, including those located in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby decreasing their constipating effects. Because of its chemical structure, RELISTOR does not affect the opioid-mediated analgesic effects on the CNS.
RELISTOR Subcutaneous Injection is approved in the United States for the treatment of OIC in patients with advanced illness who are receiving palliative care, when response to laxative therapy has not been sufficient. The use of RELISTOR beyond four months has not been studied. The drug is also approved for use in over 50 countries worldwide, including the European Union, Canada, and Australia. In the 27 member states of the E.U., as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, RELISTOR is approved for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in advanced illness patients who are receiving palliative care when response to usual laxative therapy has not been sufficient. In Canada, the drug is approved for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced illness, receiving palliative care. When response to laxatives has been insufficient, RELISTOR should be used as an adjunct therapy to induce a prompt bowel movement. Applications in additional countries are pending.