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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Feb;12(2):167-74.

Effect of octreotide on gastric and small bowel motility in patients with gastroparesis.

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Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, USA.



Octreotide has been shown to have effects on gastric and small bowel motility with implications for its role in treating patients with upper gastrointestinal dysmotility syndromes. Our aim was to investigate the effect of octreotide on antral and small bowel motility in patients with gastroparesis.


Upper gastrointestinal manometry was carried out continuously for a period of 30 h in 11 patients with gastroparesis. The spontaneous migrating motor complex (MMC) in the fasting state and octreotide-induced MMCs were characterized and compared with regard to site of origin, duration of phase III, amplitude of phase III and propagation velocity of the MMC along the gut. The 2-h postprandial motility index was compared after a control meal as well as after a 100 microg octreotide administration.


In all 11 gastroparetic patients, octreotide induced a phase III-like activity front within minutes after administration and this primarily originated in the small bowel (86% of activity fronts compared with 32% of fronts originating in the small bowel prior to octreotide administration (P < 0.004)). Gastric initiation of these activity fronts dramatically decreased after octreotide administration, occurring in 68% of activity fronts prior to octreotide administration and 14% of occasions after octreotide injection (P < 0.05). The postprandial antral motility index was markedly reduced after octreotide administration (11.33 +/- 0.39 vs. 7.96 +/- 0.76, P < 0.0003) and octreotide re-established a motility pattern during the postprandial period that was similar to that normally seen in the interdigestive state. The octreotide-induced phase III activity fronts appeared at a higher frequency and had a higher propagative velocity compared to the spontaneous phase III fronts in the fasting state (9.27 +/- 0.82 vs. 5.56 +/- 0.81 cm/min, P < 0.05).


We conclude that octreotide's marked inhibitory effect on antral contractility may serve to worsen clinical symptoms in patients with gastroparesis and therefore this agent should not be given in the periprandial period. Those gastroparetic patients with associated small bowel dysmotility and diarrhoea from bacterial overgrowth may benefit from the nocturnal administration of octreotide because of its stimulatory effect of phase III MMC activity as well as its known inhibitory effect on small bowel secretions.

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