Surgical sphincterotomy reduces anal tone and sphincter spasm and promotes ulcer healing. Because the surgery is associated with the side effect of faecal incontinence, pharmacological agents to treat chronic anal fissure have been explored recently. Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) ointment (0.2%) has an efficacy of up to 68% in healing chronic anal fissure, but it is associated with headache as the major and most common side effect. Though botulinum toxin injected into the anal sphincter healed over 80% of chronic anal fis-sures, it is more invasive and expensive than GTN therapy. Diltiazem ointment achieved healing of chronic anal fissure comparable to 0.2% GTN ointment but was associated with fewer side effects. Other drugs that have been tried are lidocaine, the alpha-adrenergic antagonist indoramin, and the potassium channel opener minoxidil. © 2008 Elsevier. All rights reserved.
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