Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Medicine may be used along with lifestyle changes to manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The goal of medicine treatment is to relieve your symptoms enough to prevent them from interfering with your daily activities, because it may not be possible to eliminate your symptoms. Medicines may be prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, diarrhea, or constipation that does not respond to home treatment. No single medicine has been shown to be effective in relieving IBS over the long term.
In most cases, the choice of medicine is based on your most troublesome symptom. For example, if diarrhea is the most bothersome symptom, using antidiarrheals or anticholinergics may be helpful.
Medicines that may be used to treat severe diarrhea that does not improve with home treatment include:
There are many medicines for severe constipation that does not improve with home treatment. Most of these medicines are available without a prescription and are okay to take once in awhile. Check with your doctor before you use any of these medicines every day for constipation. Medicines for constipation include:
For pain and cramping
The following medicines may be used for long-term pain and cramping:
For anxiety or depression
The following medicines may be used if your IBS causes you to have anxiety or depression:
What To Think About
Few medicines have proven consistently helpful and all medicines have side effects, so medicine should be used for specific symptoms that disrupt your normal daily activities.
If you also have another illness, such as depression, that triggers symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, medicine for that illness may be needed.
Alosetron, a medicine that decreases abdominal sensitivity, has been shown to relieve symptoms in some women who have severe diarrhea and who have not responded to other treatments. Although this medicine was previously removed from the market when its use was shown to contribute to ischemic bowel disease (which occurs when there is not enough blood flowing to the intestines), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reapproved alosetron for limited use in IBS. Specific guidelines for the use of alosetron require health professionals prescribing it to sign a certificate and patients to sign a consent form.
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