For patients with cancer and chronic constipation, elobixibat was shown to be safe and effective during an observational study, the results of which were published in The Oncologist.

Chronic constipation affects up to 87% of patients with cancer receiving palliative care and has been associated with reduced quality of life and extreme discomfort. To address the need for more effective treatment, 83 cancer patients with chronic constipation receiving palliative care at the Yokohama City University Hospital in Japan between July 2018 and April 2020 were prospectively recruited. Patients received 5 to 15 mg elobixibat daily and were assessed for daily bowel movements and by the instrument Japanese Patient Assessment of Constipation Quality of Life (JPAC-QOL).

Participants were 59% men, mean age 70.4±13.5 years, and BMI was 20.4±3.3 kg/m2. Common primary cancer sites included hepato-biliary-pancreatic (42%), gastrointestinal (19%), and head and neck (19%). Elobixibat was administered an average of 17±13 days during hospitalization, and 91±113 days during hospitalization and final prescription during outpatient follow-up.

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Spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs) increased from 0.3±0.3 per day at baseline to 1.2±0.5 per day (P <.001) at week 1. Complete SBMs significantly increased with elobixibat therapy (0.1±0.2 to 0.6±0.2; P <.001). Nearly all patients (91%) exhibited a treatment response.

Compared with baseline, elobixibat therapy corresponded with improved overall quality of life (0.74 vs 1.01; P =.01), psychosocial discomfort (0.48 vs 0.83; P =.01), physical discomfort (0.65 vs 0.94; P =.02), and worries/concerns (0.68 vs 1.04; P =.03).

No serious adverse events were reported, with 5 (6%) patients withdrawing at 2 weeks due to abdominal pain (2), diarrhea (1), bloating (1), or nausea (1). Fifteen (18%) patients discontinued elobixibat because of oral intake difficulty, and 1 patient refused the treatment.

This study may have included some selection bias as patients were recruited at a single center.

These data indicated elobixibat may be an effective treatment option for cancer patients with chronic constipation who are receiving palliative care.


Ozaki A, Kessoku T, Kasai Y, et al. Elobixibat effectively relieves chronic constipation in patients with cancer regardless of the amount of food intake. Oncologist. Published June 27, 2021. doi:10.1002/onco.13879