Pharmacology and clinical experience with alosetron

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27 Scopus citations


Alosetron (Lotronex) is a potent, highly selective 5-HT3 antagonist. Animal models have shown it to be active in anxiety, psychosis, cognitive impairment, emesis and drug withdrawal, though its application in humans has been almost entirely restricted to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Alosetron does not cause adverse pharmacodynamic effects, is absorbed rapidly after oral administration and is widely distributed throughout tissues after oral or iv. dosing in animals. Its metabolism is rapid and extensive with N-demethylation, hydroxylation and oxidation. The drug, or its two principal metabolites, is equally excreted through the biliary tract and kidneys. Alosetron has proved safe in a range of toxicity studies; at high repeated dosing, clinical signs were transient and repeated administration produced no significant adverse effects on fertility, reproductive performance or fetal development. In pharmacokinetic studies, bioavailability of alosetron in healthy volunteers is approximately 60% and the plasma half-life is about 1.5 h. There are some gender differences in the pharmacokinetic profile, with 30-50% higher alosetron concentrations in females. No consistent differences in alosetron serum concentrations between the young and elderly were observed. The pharmacokinetics of single, oral doses of alosetron are linear up to 8 mg. In human pharmacodynamic studies, alosetron increased basal jejunal water and electrolyte absorption, increased colonic transit time and, consequently, whole gut transit time. Alosetron has been evaluated in two large Phase II trials (randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled) and in Phase III trials which included a four-week observation period after cessation. Dose response studies suggested that the effective dosages could be between 1 and 2 mg, twice-daily. In Phase II trials, alosetron, 1 mg b.i.d., resulted in a greater proportion of non-constipated IBS patients reporting adequate relief of pain and discomfort, as well as improvement of bowel symptoms, frequency, urgency and stool consistency when compared with placebo. However, this beneficial effect was seen exclusively among females. Phase III studies evaluated exclusively females with non-constipated IBS and confirmed the results of the Phase II studies. Alosetron was well-tolerated in all studies, with the most frequently recorded adverse event being constipation. Thus, alosetron appears promising in the treatment of abdominal pain and discomfort and normalising of bowel function in patients with non-constipated IBS. It also improves duality of life, has a high degree of tolerability and has an excellent safety profile to date.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Alosetron
  • Alternating bowel movements
  • Antagonist
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lotronex
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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