The effects of octreotide on six normal subjects and five patients with scleroderma were investigated. Changes in intestinal motility and in plasma motilin were examined after a single injection of octreotide. Octreotide stimulated intense intestinal motor activity in normal subjects. Motility patterns in the scleroderma patients were chaotic and non-propagative, but, after octreotide was given, became well coordinated, aborally directed, and nearly as intense as in normal volunteers. Clinical responses and changes in breath hydrogen were also evaluated in the five scleroderma patients who had further treatment with octreotide at a dose of 50 micrograms/day subcutaneously for three weeks. A reduction in symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloating was seen. Additionally, there was an improvement in bacterial overgrowth as objectively measured by breath hydrogen testing. The effects of octreotide (100 micrograms/day subcutaneously) on the perception of rectal distension were investigated in a double blind, placebo controlled study in healthy volunteers. Octreotide was shown to reduce the perception of rectal distension without affecting motor pathways or local rectal reflexes. This enhanced tolerance to volume distension seems to result from inhibition of sensory afferent pathways as shown by electroencephalographic studies showing diminished evoked spinal and cortical potentials after octreotide. In irritable bowel syndrome patients with rectal urgency, octreotide reduces rectal pressures and perception after rectal distension to near normal values.
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