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To assess the efficacy and safety of lubiprostone in adults with chronic constipation.This multicenter, parallel-group, double-blind controlled trial enrolled 242 patients with constipation and randomized them to receive oral lubiprostone 24 mcg or placebo twice daily for 4 wk. The primary efficacy end point was the number of spontaneous bowel movements (SBMs; those occurring without use of constipation relieving medications) after 1 wk of double-blind treatment. Other evaluations included SBMs at weeks 2, 3, and 4; bowel movement (BM) characteristics (i.e., consistency and straining); constipation severity; abdominal bloating/discomfort; global treatment effectiveness ratings; and safety assessments.The 120 lubiprostone-treated patients reported a greater mean number of SBMs at week 1 compared with the 122 placebo-treated patients (5.69 vs 3.46, P= 0.0001), with a greater frequency of SBMs also reported at weeks 2, 3, and 4 (P≤ 0.002). Within 24 h of the first dose of study drug, 56.7% of those given lubiprostone reported a SBM compared with 36.9% of those given placebo (P= 0.0024); within 48 h, 80% and 60.7% of these patients reported a SBM (P= 0.0013), respectively. Stool consistency, straining, and constipation severity, as well as patient-reported assessments of treatment effectiveness, were significantly improved with lubiprostone compared with placebo at all weeks (P≤ 0.0003). The two most common treatment-related adverse events were nausea (31.7%) and headache (11.7%).In patients with chronic constipation, treatment with lubiprostone produces a BM in the majority of individuals within 24–48 h of initial dosing and improves the frequency as well as other characteristics associated with BMs with short-term (i.e., 4 wk) treatment. The most commonly reported adverse event was mild to moderate nausea, which resulted in treatment discontinuation in 5% of treated patients.