Neostigmine and glycopyrronium: a potential safe alternative for patients with pseudo-obstruction without access to conventional methods of decompression

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Intestinal pseudo-obstruction mimics bowel obstruction. However, on examination, no mechanical cause is identified. This condition will often resolve when managed conservatively, yet in some cases decompression is required to avoid the serious complications of bowel ischaemia and perforation. This is performed endoscopically, and due to the invasive nature and limited access to this service, an alternative treatment option is deemed appealing. Neostigmine has good efficacy in the decompression of pseudo-obstruction but is hindered by its wide side effect profile. In this context, neostigmine requires careful monitoring, which limits its appeal. This side effect profile is minimised when neostigmine is administered in conjunction with glycopyrronium.


This case demonstrates the novel use of neostigmine and glycopyrronium in decompression of the bowel in a patient with pseudo-obstruction. Furthermore, it highlights its value, particularly when conventional techniques for decompression are not accessible.

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