Dyspepsia (cont.)

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What is in the future for dyspepsia (indigestion)?

The future of dyspepsia will depend on our increasing knowledge of the processes (mechanisms) that cause dyspepsia. Acquiring this knowledge, in turn, depends on research funding. Because of the difficulties in conducting research in dyspepsia, this knowledge will not come quickly. Until we have an understanding of the mechanisms of dyspepsia, newer treatments will be based on our developing a better understanding of the normal control of gastrointestinal function, which is proceeding more rapidly. Specifically, there is intense interest in intestinal neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that the nerves of the intestine use to communicate with each other. The interactions of these neurotransmitters are responsible for adjusting (modulating) the functions of the intestines, such as contraction of muscles and secretion of fluid and mucus.

5-hydroxytriptamine (5-HT or serotonin) is a neurotransmitter that stimulates several different receptors on nerves in the intestine. Examples of experimental drugs for intestinal neurotransmission are sumatriptan (Imitrex) and buspirone (Buspar). These drugs are believed to reduce the responsiveness (sensitivity) of the sensory nerves to what's happening in the intestine by attaching to a particular 5-HT receptor, the 5-HT1 receptor. The 5-HT1 receptor drugs, however, have received only minimal study so far and their role in the treatment of dyspepsia, if any, is unknown.

Promotility drugs similar to cisapride, as previously discussed, are being pursued actively.

Another area of active research is relaxation of the muscles of the stomach for the treatment of dyspepsia. Normally when food enters the stomach, the stomach relaxes to accommodate the food and the secretions it stimulates. Many patients with dyspepsia have been found to have reduced relaxation of the stomach when food enters, and it is possible that this results in discomfort. Drugs that specifically relax the muscles of the stomach are being developed, but more clinical trials showing their benefit are needed.

REFERENCE: MedscapeToday.com. Functional Dyspepsia.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2014

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