|Drug class||Guanylate cyclase C agonist|
|Main uses||Chronic idiopathic constipation, constipation due to irritable bowel syndrome|
|Typical dose||3 mg OD|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||1681.89 g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
Common side effects include diarrhea. Use is not recommended in children. Safety in pregnancy is unclear. It works by activating guanylate cyclase-C which increases release of chloride and bicarbonate into the intestines.
It is used for the treatment of chronic idiopathic constipation in adults. The presence of this condition is determined using the Rome III diagnostic criteria for chronic constipation which requires that the patient meet stool frequency, stool consistency, incomplete evacuation, and straining requirements in addition to not being a likely candidate for irritable bowel syndrome.  The symptoms should also have been present for at least three of the last six months to establish the chronic nature of the condition before treatment with plecanatide is indicated.
Plecanatide has been shown to be safe and effective. It has shown to be at least equally as effective as its main competitor, linaclotide (brand name Linzess), but has been shown to have a lower rate of diarrhea as an adverse drug reaction.
It is taken at a dose of 3 mg per day.
Plecanatide has not been shown to be safe or effective in persons 6 years to 18 years of age. Use of plecanatide by persons under the age of 6 poses a serious dehydration risk and studies have demonstrated plecanatide can cause death in juvenile mice due to this dehydrating effect.
Use of plecanatide is also contraindicated in persons who are suspected of having a mechanical gastrointestinal obstruction.
Structure and function
Plecanatide is a 16 amino acid peptide with the amino acid sequence:
Plecanatide has two important motifs. The first being the acidic residues Asp2 and Glu3 which modulate the affinity for its receptor in response to environmental pH. Simulations predict the optimal activity of Plecanatide to occur at pH 5, making it suitable for targeting cells within the proximal intestine, which has a pH of between 5 and 6. The second is the ACTGC motif (residues Ala11 to Cys15) which is the region responsible for its binding to the receptor, guanylate cyclase-C.
Mechanism of action
Plecanatide works as a laxative by drawing water in to the gastrointestinal tract thereby softening stool and encouraging its natural passage.
Similar to its endogenous counterpart, plecanatide activates guanylate cyclase-C on endothelial cells within the gastrointestinal tract. The activation of guanylate cyclase-C catalyses the production of the second messenger guanosine 3’,5’-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP) which leads to the protein kinase A (PKA) and protein kinase G II (PKGII)-mediated phosphorylation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. CFTR is an anion channel and upon activation it will secrete negatively charged ions, particularly chloride (Cl−) and bicarbonate (HCO3−) in to the GI tract lumen. This disruption to the electrochemical gradient is in part rectified by the passive secretion of positively charged sodium ions in to the lumen and water follows by osmosis.
Plecanatide is also known to have an anti-nociceptive effect in animal models, however the exact mechanism of action is not yet fully elucidated. It has been suggested that this may be in part to the anti-inflammatory action of guanylate cyclase-C by its inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines, or through the inhibition of associated sensory neurons.
Pharmacokinetics and metabolism
As plecanatide acts on receptors present on the apical side of endothelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract it is able to impart its effect without ever entering circulation. As with most orally ingested peptides, plecanatide is degraded by intestinal enzymes, and so very little of the active drug enters systemic circulation. Minimal amounts of the drug are expected to be transported in to the body, and concentrations of plecanatide and its metabolites are undetectable in plasma following the recommended dosage of 3 mg. It has also been shown that dosages up to 48.6 mg produced no detectable concentration of plecanatide in human plasma at any time point after ingestion.
Society and culture
Plecanatide, branded as Trulance, is manufactured by Synergy Pharmaceuticals.
- Linaclotide, another guanylate cyclase-C agonist
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