Drug-Induced Malabsorption

  • T. Wehrmann
  • B. Lembcke
  • W. F. Caspary


Drugs may induce malassimilation of nutrients by direct or indirect, specific or non specific modes of action. It is important to distinguish first between the interference of drugs with the process of digestion or absorption since an increased loss of nutrients in the stool may be caused by a derangement of either or both functions. These side effects may be induced by a variety of chemically totally different compounds and may be independent of the route of drug administration (enteral or paren-tereral), while excretion of drugs (or their metabolites) in gut secretions and bile accounts for the interference with nutrient absorption even after parenteral administration. However, the clinical relevance of the different pathophysiological mechanisms merits careful interpretation. Apart from the clinical importance of adverse drug reactions, the therapeutic potential of inhibiting digestive and absorptive gastrointestinal functions in the treatment of diabetes mellitus (acarbose), hyperlipid-aemia (cholestyramine), and dumping syndrome (guar, so called “gelling agents”) had been established. For the purpose of this review, the effects of drugs on the gastrointestinal absorptive function are structured according to six different underlying pathophysiological mechanisms [88] (Table 1).


Bile Acid Gastric Emptying Familial Mediterranean Fever Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide Breath Hydrogen 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Wehrmann
    • 1
  • B. Lembcke
    • 1
  • W. F. Caspary
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung für Gastroenterologie, Fakultät für Klinische MedizinUniversität HeidelbergMannheimGermany

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