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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2019 September;65(3):229-38

DOI: 10.23736/S1121-421X.19.02567-4

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Trimebutine: a state-of-the-art review

Beatrice SALVIOLI 1, 2

1 University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; 2 Humanitas Research Hospital, Rozzano, Milan, Italy



Trimebutine maleate has been used extensively, since the late 1960’s, for the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is usually linked to the antispasmodic class of agents, but its properties make trimebutine an unmatched and multi-tasking compound. The efficacy on relieving abdominal pain has been demonstrated in various clinical studies with different protocols of treatment. The main effect was first believed to be merely due to its antispastic activity, but further evidences expanded the acknowledgement of a broader impact on the gastrointestinal tract. The actions of trimebutine are mediated via an agonist effect on peripheral mu, kappa and delta opiate receptors and a modulation of gastrointestinal peptides release. The final motor effects on the gut are summarized in an acceleration of the gastric emptying, an induction of premature phase III of the migrating motor complex in the small intestine and a modulation of the contractile activity of the colon. Moreover, it has been shown to have a role in regulating the visceral sensitivity. It has been observed that this drug is also a multiple-ion channel modulator in the gut. Its function at various levels, from motility to pain control, makes this drug unique and its spectrum of action can be exploited for the treatment of both hypermotility and hypomotility disorders including irritable bowel syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal diseases. This article provides an overview of the current knowledge on the pharmacological mechanisms of trimebutine and its clinical applications in gastrointestinal disorders. Its biochemical properties and the complex mechanisms of action, along with a well-studied pharmacological safety, make this compound still actual and valuable.


KEY WORDS: Trimebutine; Irritable bowel syndrome; Gastrointestinal diseases

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