The transmucosal electrical potential difference (pd) and the sodium and potassium net fluxes were measured in the rectum of subjects taking carbenoxolone. There was a rise in transmucosal pd persisting throughout treatment in all subjects which was accompanied by an increase in sodium absorption and potassium secretion. Comparison of the pd changes produced by carbenoxolone with those due to the mineralocorticoid 9-alpha-fluorocortisol showed that carbenoxolone had about 1/1000th the potency on a weight basis and the two drugs appeared to be additive in their effects. Topical instillation of carbenoxolone into the rectum produced an elevation of pd which persisted for three days. Amiloride and bendrofluazide did not interfere with these actions of carbenoxolone but spironolactone abolished them. One patient who developed fluid retention and hypokalaemia had a rectal pd similar to that of the other patients who had no side effects.
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