Introduction: Current treatments for gastroparesis are limited. Chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) has more treatment options, but none are efficacious for severe cases. Areas covered: Molecular targets to accelerate GI motility are being identified, and relamorelin, a synthetic ghrelin analog, has been promising. In humans, relamorelin increases growth hormone levels and accelerates gastric emptying. Relamorelin was superior to placebo for symptom relief in phase IIA studies for diabetic gastroparesis (DG) and CIC. In phase IIB studies in DG, relamorelin did not significantly reduce vomiting frequency when compared to placebo, but it reduced four symptoms of DG (nausea, fullness, bloating and abdominal pain) and accelerated gastric emptying. To date, relamorelin has been well tolerated and safe in humans without cardiac or neurologic adverse effects. It is still in clinical trial stages and not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Phase III studies are underway. Expert opinion: Relamorelin shows promise in treating DG, with a reduction in core symptoms. Relative to available treatments, it appears to be efficacious and well tolerated. The absence of neurological or cardiovascular adverse effects places it at an advantage over other available therapies. Once approved, it will likely become the drug of first choice for DG.
- chronic idiopathic constipation
- growth hormone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)