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Ergotamine-induced anorectal strictures: report of five cases.

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Dis Colon Rectum. 2002 Feb;45(2):271-2 Purpose: Ergotamine tartrate suppositories are used for treatment of migraine headache attacks. Chronic abuse may lead to severe anorectal complications such as ulceration, stricture, and rectovaginal fistula. These complications are rare, and only sporadic reports may be found. Nevertheless, awareness of this entity on the part of prescribing physicians and treating colorectal surgeons is essential for a successful outcome, because withdrawal of this medication is an inherent part of treatment. Patients: Five female patients were referred for treatment of symptomatic strictures of the anal canal and lower rectum. All of these patients admitted prolonged, nearly daily use of three to seven ergotamine tartrate suppositories. Results: Three patients with severe stenosis of the anal verge and anal canal were treated by Y-V anoplasty, and two patients with circular stricture of the lower third of the rectum had balloon dilatations. In all patients the use of ergotamine suppositories was stopped, and alternative medication was instituted. Long-term follow-up (3-12 years) showed complete resolution of symptoms. Conclusion: In view of the availability of new effective drugs for treatment of migraine headache (serotonin agonists) and considering the potentially severe complications of chronic use of ergotamine, the use of this medication should be abandoned. Comment: Ergotamine users beware of the sting in the tail! DSM.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2003

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