Common Functional Gastroenterological Disorders Associated With Abdominal PainAlthough abdominal pain is a symptom of several structural gastrointestinal disorders (eg, peptic ulcer disease), this comprehensive review will focus on the 4 most common nonstructural, or functional, disorders associated with abdominal pain: functional dyspepsia, constipation-predominant and diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, and functional abdominal pain syndrome. Together, these conditions affect approximately 1 in 4 people in the United States. They are associated with comorbid conditions (eg, fibromyalgia and depression), impaired quality of life, and increased health care utilization.
Development of Peripheral Opioid Antagonists: New Insights Into Opioid EffectsThe recent approval by the US Food and Drug Administration of 2 medications—methylnaltrexone and alvimopan—introduces a new class of therapeutic entities to clinicians. These peripherally acting μ-opioid receptor antagonists selectively reverse opioid actions mediated by receptors outside the central nervous system, while preserving centrally mediated analgesia. Methylnaltrexone, administered subcutaneously, has been approved in the United States, Europe, and Canada. In the United States, it is indicated for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced illness (eg, cancer, AIDS) who are receiving palliative care, when response to laxative therapy has not been sufficient.