Acotiamide hydrochloride is a novel upper gastrointestinal (GI) motility modulator and stress regulator currently being developed for the treatment of functional dyspepsia (FD). The mechanism underlying the enhancement of GI motility by this agent has been proposed to be based on its muscarinic antagonism and inhibitory effects on acetylcholinesterase activity. Pathophysiological studies showed that acotiamide significantly improved both delayed gastric emptying and feeding inhibition in restraint stress-induced model, but did not affect both normal gastric emptying and feeding in intact animals, indicating that acotiamide exerted effects only on the impaired gastric emptying and feeding behavior. According to the clinical pilot study in Europe, acotiamide, at the dose of 100 mg t.i.d., showed to improve the symptoms and quality of life of patients with FD, indicating the need for larger scale symptomatic studies on the efficacy of acotiamide in patients with FD. The recent phase II studies conducted in Japan presented in this issue of the journal also confirmed that acotiamide, at the optimal dose of 100 mg, has potential therapeutic efficacy, especially for meal-related FD symptoms. Although a phase III study is on going, acotiamide is now expected as a novel treatment option for FD.
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