Racecadotril (Acetorphan) for Diarrhea in Adults Infected with HIV/AIDS: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review

  • Ronna Cheska V. De Leon
  • Harold Henrison C. Chiu
  • Kim Paul B. De Castro
  • Jhoanna Rose H. Velasquez
  • Antonio Miguel L. Dans2
Keywords: Racecadotril, enkephalinase inhibitors, chronic diarrhea, AIDS


Background. Diarrhea is a common and disabling symptom seen in patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The diarrhea is chronic and results in malabsorption contributing to cachexia. Symptomatic treatment can improve the quality of life and nutritional status of these patients.

The endogenous group of opiates known as enkephalins function as anti-secretory agents without affecting intestinal transit. Racecadotril (acetorphan) is an orally active enkephalinase inhibitor. Available studies have focused on the use of racecadotril in healthy adults and children with acute infectious diarrhea.

Objectives. To assess the efficacy of racecadotril (acetorphan) in reducing the duration and frequency of bowel movement in adult HIV patients with chronic diarrhea.

Methods. Electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials which used racecadotril for chronic diarrhea in HIV patients. Three independent reviewers assessed the quality of the two studies based on the Cochrane Infectious Disease Group prior to inclusion in study. Data extracted were analyzed using Revman Version 5. Test for heterogeneity was performed using the chi square test.

Results. Results showed the standardized mean difference for the two trials comparing racecadotril to placebo and octreotide in reducing bowel movements from baseline was -1.00 (95% CI -1.16 to -0.84, Z=12.08, p<0.00001), showing a beneficial effect. Response rate for the two trials comparing racecadotril to placebo or octreotide in reducing bowel movements from baseline was -0.13 (95% CI -0.26 to 0.01, Z=1.84, p<0.07), showing a trend towards benefit in terms of response rates. Heterogeneity was statistically insignificant (p=1, I2=0%).

Conclusions. There is evidence pointing to a benefit in using racecadotril in HIV and AIDS-associated, non-infectious diarrhea by decreasing the frequency of loose stools. An individualized approach is still recommended in its use for HIV patients with chronic diarrhea.


Most read articles by the same author(s)