New ‘vibrating’ pill relieves chronic constipation pain — without drugs

A new pill is generating breakthrough buzz: It offers relief to those suffering from chronic constipation — without any harsh drug side effects.

Vibrant is a capsule that looks like a regular-sized pill, but instead of releasing medicine when swallowed, it vibrates to stimulate the colon and, well, get things flowing. 

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first-of-its-kind capsule back in August — and it’s available this week for doctors to prescribe.

“Our vision is to accelerate the transition to drug-free treatments that enable millions of constipation patients to live more enjoyable lives by inventing solutions that synchronize and activate the body’s natural gut-brain connection,” said Lior Ben Tsur, CEO of Vibrant Gastro , in a statement.

The pill is prescribed to be taken every day around bedtime, allowing it to travel the same route into your body as food does — buzzing throughout the stomach and small intestine — and reaching the large intestine about 14 hours later.

Each pill is “mechanically” activated in a little pod that turns it on before swallowing. After it’s ingested, remains active for about two hours, goes quiet for six — and reactivates for another two, according to CNN. It then stimulates specialized nerve cells called mechanosensory cells that trigger the muscle contractions that help squeeze food through the gut.

“There are little vibrations for three seconds on, three seconds off,” Cathy Collis, chief commercial officer for Vibrant Gastro, told the outlet.

As for the nagging question surely stumping some readers: The person will naturally poop the pill out after it stimulates the gut. Yes, they get flushed.

A clinical trial divided 349 people with chronic constipation into two groups: 200 people who took the capsule every day for eight weeks, and 149 who took a placebo that didn’t vibrate.

Those in clinical trials who took the pill reported having bowel movements more often compared to those who didn’t get the vibrating capsule. They also reported having softer stools and less bloating.

While most people said they couldn’t feel the pills working inside their bodies, some did.

“A minority could feel it,” Dr. Eamonn Quigley, chief of gastroenterology at Houston Methodist Hospital, said. “None of them felt it was being uncomfortable. And none of them stopped taking it because of that.”

Chronic constipation is classified as infrequent bowel movements that persist for several weeks or longer, according to Mayo Clinic. Doctors usually consider someone to be constipated when they have fewer than three bowel movements per week.

About 16% of the US population suffers from chronic constipation, according to the National Institute of Health.

Though the pill is not designed to be a cure for chronic constipation, it is intended to be taken daily as a maintenance treatment.

However, doctors say those who are pregnant or lactating and those who have a history of obstructing in the small intestine or colon should not take the pill. 

Meanwhile, the pill is not currently covered by insurance — but the company is offering a coupon for those with insurance that will cover out-of-pocket costs at $69 per month. 

“We are working right now with insurance companies to obtain coverage in commercial plans,” Collis told CNN. “But until we get that coverage, our goal and commitment is to make sure that this is accessible and affordable to patients.”

This article was originally posted by The New York Post.

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