A placebo-controlled trial of the 5-HT1A agonist R-137696 on symptoms, visceral hypersensitivity and on impaired accommodation in functional dyspepsia

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Acute studies suggested a therapeutic benefit for fundus-relaxing drugs in functional dyspepsia (FD) with visceral hypersensitivity (VH) to gastric distention or impaired accommodation (IA), but long-term studies are lacking. R-137696 is a serotonin-1A (5-HT1A) receptor agonist which relaxes the proximal stomach in man. Our aim was to investigate the influence of R-137696 on symptoms in FD with VH or IA. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study of 4 weeks R-137696 2 mg t.i.d. in FD with VH or IA. Symptoms were assessed using the patient assessment of upper gastrointestinal symptom severity index (PAGI-SYM) total score and individual symptom subscales. Barostat studies were performed before and after 4 weeks of treatment. Fifty-three patients (33 VH and 20 IA), 18 men, mean age 40 ± 13 years were recruited. Twenty-four received placebo and 29 received R-137696. In VH patients, both placebo and R-137696 improved total symptom scores, with a tendency for superiority of placebo (−1.12 vs−0.51, P = 0.07). Placebo was superior for the subscales of early satiety, bloating, fullness and discomfort (all P < 0.05). In IA, both placebo and R-137696 had no significant influence on total or individual symptom scores (−0.08 and −0.27). In VH, both placebo and R-137696 increased the discomfort volume, without a statistical difference between both arms (+120 and +164 mL). In IA, both placebo and R-137696 enhanced accommodation, without a statistical difference between both (+77 and +159 mL). Adverse events were similar for drug and placebo. A 4-week administration of the fundus-relaxing 5-HT1A agonist R-137696 failed to significantly improve symptoms, VH or gastric accommodation compared to placebo.

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