Lancet sub-journal: Vibrating capsules can effectively treat functional constipation


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Recently, the Lancet sub-journal Electronic Clinical Medicine published a study on the treatment of functional constipation (VICONS) by six units, including Shanghai Changhai Hospital, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing Jishuitan Hospital, Shandong Qilu Hospital, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, and the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Studies have shown that after receiving vibration capsule treatment in the treatment group, 64% of patients increased the number of completely spontaneous bowel movements more than once a week, which was 28% higher than that of the control group. This means that vibrating capsules promote spontaneous and complete bowel movements, improve symptoms in patients with constipation, and improve quality of life.

The prevalence of chronic constipation in adults in China is 4% to 10%, and with the increase of age, the prevalence of constipation gradually increases, and the prevalence of chronic constipation in people over 70 years old reaches 23%, and the prevalence of chronic constipation in people over 80 years old can reach 38%. The prevalence of chronic constipation is higher in women than in men.

Chronic constipation includes functional, organic, and drug-induced constipation. Among them, the causes of functional constipation are the most complex and diverse, which are typical of multiple causes and effects, there are lifestyle reasons, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, etc., as well as psychological reasons, insomnia, anxiety and nervousness, which bring great challenges to clinical diagnosis and treatment.

What is more difficult is that the treatment cycle of functional constipation is long and the treatment effect is repetitive, which not only brings a great economic burden to patients, but also brings serious derivative problems.

“Constipation is a stubborn disease of the digestive tract that is difficult to completely cure, and there is no specific medicine that can be cured.” Liao Zhuan, the corresponding author of the paper and a professor of gastroenterology at Shanghai Changhai Hospital, said.

In view of this, from December 2018 to February 2020, the above six medical institutions jointly launched a multi-center clinical trial, following the rules of randomized, double-blind, sufficient samples, control and reproducible scientific experiments, to study the use of vibration capsules for Shanghai Anhan Medical Technology Co., Ltd. independently developed the “Digestive Tract Vibration Capsule System” (Weitong Vibrabot capsules), mainly for patients with functional constipation aged 18 to 80 years old.

According to Zhu Jiahui, the first author of the paper, the experimental method is to randomly assign patients to receive vibration capsules or placebo for six weeks (two capsules per week) after observation at least two weeks of baseline period observation for at least two weeks, and finally count the proportion of patients who have spontaneous complete bowel movements at least once a week during treatment. After six weeks of experimental results, 64% of the 106 subjects aged 18 to 74 years increased the number of completely spontaneous bowel movements greater than or equal to 1 time per week, which was 28% higher than that of the placebo control group, and the data had a significant effect.

Li Jingnan, chief physician of the Department of Gastroenterology of Peking Union Medical College Hospital, who participated in the study, said that when the capsule passes through the digestive tract after swallowing, it will be intermittently “massaged” at a set frequency for up to 6 hours, or it can activate the intestinal neural network, awaken intestinal motility, promote colon peristalsis, thereby alleviating and treating constipation. Judging from the results of clinical trials, vibrating capsules have opened up new avenues for the treatment of constipation.

Moreover, after the 6-week trial, the research team conducted a follow-up of 4 weeks. The results showed that about 37.3% of the people in the vibrating capsule group were able to maintain the effect of increasing the number of spontaneous complete bowel movements more than once a week, which was 17% higher than that of the control group.

It is reported that the vibrating capsule was registered as an innovative medical device by the State Drug Administration in February this year for the treatment of functional constipation, and the indication is “poor drug use effect” for constipation patients.

Professor Ling Hu Enqiang, chairman of the Digestive Endoscopy Branch of the Chinese Medical Association and director of the Department of Gastroenterology of Beijing 301 Hospital, said that this is another milestone in the innovative research and development of medical devices and clinical research in China, and it is expected that the digestive tract vibration capsule will bring the gospel to constipation patients with poor drug treatment effect and provide a more effective and sustainable new way of treatment. (Source: China Science Daily Zhang Siwei)

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