Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCMP) (SPI) and Abbott (NYSE: ABT) today announced the availability of AMITIZA
(lubiprostone) in Japan, a prescription medicine for the treatment of chronic constipation not caused by organic diseases. AMITIZA was approved by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan in June.
“Millions of patients in Japan have been suffering from chronic constipation, without efficacious and well-tolerated, long-term treatment options. We are pleased to bring AMITIZA’s experience of six years and over six million prescriptions in the United States to the Japanese market, to benefit the healthcare providers and patients who need it,” says Ryuji Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., Ph.D., Sucampo’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“Chronic constipation is a medical condition affecting several million people in Japan and is one of the most common digestive condition complaints. Healthcare providers will now have a prescription option to help treat this condition more effectively and longer term, compared to currently approved over-the-counter medications,” says Akihiko Honda, General Manager, Abbott Japan.
AMITIZA may significantly advance the treatment of chronic constipation and will be the only prescription option available in Japan for this condition. The medicine is the world’s first chloride channel activator approved for therapeutic use, and has a unique mode of action that induces natural bowel movement frequency that is more in line with normal bowel habits.
Abbott will promote and distribute AMITIZA in Japan under the terms of the 2009 license, commercialization and supply agreement with Sucampo.
About Chronic Constipation (excluding constipation caused by organic diseases)
According to MHLW epidemiology data, millions of people in Japan may live daily with the pain and discomfort of chronic constipation, yet not seek physician care. Medical attention could mean early diagnosis and effective, long-term treatment.
AMITIZA (lubiprostone) is a prostone, a local activator of type-2 chloride ion channels (ClC-2) in cells lining the small intestine. By increasing water secretion, lubiprostone softens stools and increases motility in the intestine, thereby facilitating the passage of stool and alleviating symptoms associated with chronic constipation. Additionally, activation of ClC-2 by lubiprostone has been shown to stimulate recovery of mucosal barrier function via the restoration of tight junction protein complexes in
studies of ischemic porcine intestine.
AMITIZA is approved in the United States for the treatment of two constipation-related indications, and in Switzerland and the United Kingdom for one constipation-related indication.