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Drug-Free Vibrating Pill for Constipation Now Available by Prescription

Vibrant, approved by the FDA in August, is a non-drug treatment for constipation taken at bedtime that gently vibrates as it passes through the digestive tract.

Experiencing constipation can be uncomfortable and impact daily life. Although there are foods that can help with constipation and other options, such as stool softeners, they don’t always provide relief for some people.

On February 8, Vibrant Gastro, Inc. announced its new capsule called Vibrant is now available for doctors to prescribe to their patients with chronic constipation.

According to a news release posted on the company’s website, the new constipation pill is drug-free and works by using vibrations to stimulate the nerve cells in the intestinal tract. This stimulation helps trigger peristalsis — the natural muscle contractions that help squeeze food through the intestines.

An included pod activates the pill, and then the person swallows the pill at bedtime. After ingestion, the capsule is active for about two hours, stops for six hours, then reactivates for another two hours. When active, it vibrates for three seconds on and three seconds off. The capsule is then eliminated with a bowel movement.

It also has an accompanying smartphone app that self-checks the treatment process and sends reminders to take the capsule.

In one clinical trial, 23% of participants in the placebo group and 40% of the people taking the pill reported having at least one additional bowel movement a week.

Moreover, 23% of participants taking Vibrant pills and about 12% in the placebo group reported two or more additional bowel movements each week.

According to the news release, the pill caused no adverse side effects, although some study participants could feel slight vibrations and two participants experienced diarrhea.

The FDA classifies Vibrant as a class 2 medical device, meaning they have an intermediate risk of harm to the user. In addition, the agency has authorized the pill for treating chronic constipation in adults who haven’t found relief from other options or can’t tolerate over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Still, Vibrant does not cure constipation. Instead, the capsule is designed to be a maintenance treatment taken daily.

Currently, insurance does not cover Vibrant. However, the company says they offer a coupon to limit out-of-pocket costs to $69 per month.

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