Federal regulators on Monday approved Salix Pharmaceuticals drug Relistor for treatment of constipation in patients taking pain medicines.
Salix developed the drug in partnership with Progenics Pharmaceuticals of Tarrytown, N.J. The company estimates that this latest approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will expand the drug’s treatment to nearly 11 million patients.
The injected drug was already approved only to treat patients with advanced illnesses who are taking opioid painkillers, which often cause severe constipation.
Salix bought the rights to Relistor in February 2011. The drug had just $16 million in worldwide sales in 2010, but Salix thinks the drug has the potential for peak annual sales of a billion dollars.