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Study Starts For Vibrating Pill To Treat Constipation

Recruitment begins today for a vibrating pill used to treat constipation. (Jim Kuhn, Wikimedia)

Oviedo Medical Research begins screening patients Monday for a novel treatment for chronic constipation – a vibrating capsule. 

Patients will be given a pill that vibrates while moving through the intestines to simulate normal contractions. Israeli medical device company Vibrant Ltd. has been developing the vibrating capsule from a pill used to take photos as it travels through a patient’s guts.

Oviedo Medical Center’s Dr. Bradley Block, the principal investigator, said the practice is one of six sites in the U.S. enrolling patients for the study.

“And for something that, based on the prior studies, seems to be a very effective way and side effect free way of treating a chronic medical problem that a lot of people are bothered with and plagued by,” Block said.

Medical device maker Vibrant plans to submit the vibrating capsule for FDA approval. While there are no reported major side effects, one possible concern is the price.

“Luckily as technology improves or becomes cheaper, things become more cost effective,” Block said. “The company right now is estimating that, if and when it gets FDA approved, they would be selling it for the same price range as a prescription medication used for chronic constipation.”

Those enrolled in the clinical study would not have to pay for the capsules, and would be reimbursed for time and travel. Some patients will get a placebo.

WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by Florida Hospital.

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Abe Aboraya

About Abe Aboraya

Health Reporter / Special Project: ProPublica

Abe Aboraya started writing for newspapers in High School. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe ... Read Full Bio »