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07-18-2017 | Gastrointestinal disorders | Review | Article

Gastroparesis: Medical and Therapeutic Advances

Digestive Diseases and Sciences

Authors: Christopher M. Navas, Nihal K. Patel, Brian E. Lacy

Publisher: Springer US


Gastroparesis is a chronic, bothersome, and often disabling neuromuscular disorder of the upper gastrointestinal tract. The most frequently reported symptoms of gastroparesis include nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, early satiety, and unintentional weight loss. Etiologies of gastroparesis include diabetes, connective tissue disorders, prior infection, mesenteric ischemia, and post-surgical complications. The largest category of gastroparesis patients is comprised of those in whom no definitive cause can be identified (idiopathic gastroparesis). The individual and societal burden of gastroparesis is substantial. It considerably reduces patients’ quality of life accompanied by a significant negative impact to the healthcare system. The current treatments of gastroparesis are less than ideal. Dietary modification may improve symptoms in patients with mild disease. Metoclopramide is the only medication currently approved for the treatment of gastroparesis; however, it is associated with adverse effects in a sizable proportion of patients. Other medications are frequently employed to treat symptoms of nausea and vomiting, although technically all are used off-label since they are not FDA approved for the treatment of gastroparesis. These data highlight the need to identify novel, more effective treatment options for this disabling disease. This review will provide a brief synopsis on the epidemiology, etiology, and impact of gastroparesis, discussing new therapeutic advances.

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