Astra-Zeneca given greenlight for new constipation drug

Drugs company Astra-Zeneca has been given the go-ahead to market Naloxegol - a drug designed to alleviate constipation induced by taking opoids and which can't be treated by laxatives. (Release)

Developed by biopharmaceutical company Nektar, Naxoxegol has the potential to be the first once-daily drug for OIC suffers. It marketisation has been authorised by the European Medical Agency (EMA), following a series of clinical trials.

Adult patients suffering from opoid induced constipation (OIC) have developed constipation because of the strong prescription pain-killing medication - such as morphine, codeine or methadone - that they're taking.

40-50 per cent of people taking opoids will develop OIC - that's 28-35 million. In turn, only up to half of those respond to over-the-counter options like laxatives.