Crofelemer

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Information about Crofelemer

Crofelemer is an antidiarrheal agent derived from the red sap of the South American plant Croton lechleri, which is used to treat noninfectious diarrhea in HIV positive patients on antiretroviral therapy. 

Liver safety of Crofelemer

Crofelemer is associated with occasional instances of serum enzyme elevations during therapy, but has not been linked to cases of clinically apparent acute liver injury.

Mechanism of action of Crofelemer

Crofelemer (kroe fel' e mer) is a botanical antidiarrheal agent that is used to treat noninfectious diarrhea in HIV seropositive patients taking antiretroviral medications.  Crofelemer is derived from the red sap of the South American plant Croton lechleri, which has been used for centuries to treat diarrheal illness.  The active antidiarrheal product in crofelemer appears to be a large macromolecular, oligomeric proanthocyanidin which has been shown to decrease chloride secretion in the intestine by inhibition of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), as well as calcium-activated chloride channels.  In large clinical trials, daily therapy with crofelemer was found to decrease watery bowel movements and improve stool consistency in patients with HIV infection receiving antiretroviral therapy, and who had persistent diarrhea that could not be attributed to an infectious cause. 

FDA approval information for Crofelemer

Crofelemer was approved for use in the United States in 2013, the first herbal medication to be approved for a specific medical use and first agent approved for therapy of noninfectious diarrhea in HIV positive patients. 

Dosage and administration for Crofelemer

Crofelemer is available in tablets of 125 mg under the commercial name Mytesi.  The typical dose is one tablet twice daily. 

Side effects of Crofelemer

Side effects are uncommon and generally mild, but can include flatulence, bloating, nausea, constipation, increased bilirubin, cough and symptoms of upper respiratory illness.

Antidiarrheal agents

Antidiarrheal agents include bulk forming agents, hydroscopic agents, bile acid resins, bismuth, inhibitors of intestinal motility, non-absorbed antibiotics and hormones. Bulk forming agents include methylcellulose; hydroscopic agents include pectin and kaolin; bile acid resins are cholestyramine, colestipol and colesevalam; inhibitors of intestinal motility include opioids such as diphenoxylate and loperamide. Antibiotics include rifamycin and rifaximin which are non-absorbed and are used for travelers' diarrhea. Hormones with antidiarrheal activity include octretide and somatostatin. Most antidiarrheal agents are active locally in the small intestine and colon and are largely not absorbed. Some, however, have been implicated in rare causes of liver injury (senna, cascara, cholestyramine). Telotristat is a relatively new agent that inhibits the synthesis of serotonin and is used specifically for the diarrhea of carcinoid syndrome.

Antiemetics are a diverse group of medications that act at different points in the pathways that regulate nausea and vomiting. These include antihistamines, anticholinergic agents, phenothiazines, serotonin type 3 receptor blockers, centrally acting benzamides, cannabinoid receptor agonists, substance P antagonists and miscellaneous.

Anticholinergic Agents

Antihistamines

Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists

Serotonin 5-HT3 Receptor Antagonists

Substance P/Neurokinin 1 Receptor Antagonists

Miscellaneous

Acid peptic disease/antiulcer agents that include antacids, the histamine type 2 receptor blockers (H2 blockers), and the proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These agents are some of the most commonly taken medications and are very well tolerated, most being available both by prescription and over-the-counter. While many of these drugs are approved for use in duodenal and gastric ulcer disease, their major use is for acid reflux and indigestion.

Histamine H2 Receptor Antagonists (H2 Blockers) Cimetidine, Famotidine, Nizatidine, Ranitidine

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Cathartics, laxatives or agents for constipation include bulk forming agents, osmotic agents, stool wetting agents, nonspecific stimulants, prokinetic agents and agents that increase fluid secretion. Many of these therapies are not systemically absorbed and none are considered particularly hepatotoxic. Naldemedine and naloxegol are opioid antagonists and are used to treat the constipation associated with opioid use.

Inflammatory bowel disease encompasses several disorders, most commonly ulcerative colitis and Crohn colitis. Agents can be classified as 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5-ASA) based agents, immunosuppressive drugs, antitumor necrosis factor agents, corticosteroids, antibiotics and miscellaneous.

5-Aminosalicyclic Acid (5-ASA) Derivatives

Immunosuppressive Agents

Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonists

Miscellaneous

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Agents Antimuscarinics/Antispasmodics [See Anticholinergic agents

Prokinetic Agents - See Serotonin 5-ht4 receptor agonists Alosetron, Cisapride, Domperidone, Linaclotide, Lubiprostone, Metoclopramide, Plecanatide, Prucalopride, Tegaserod

Other

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