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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatments

Treatments for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

No cure has been found for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but many options are available to treat the symptoms. Your doctor will give you the best treatments available for your particular symptoms and encourage you to manage stress and make changes to your diet.

Medications are an important part of relieving symptoms. Your doctor may suggest fiber supplements or occasional laxatives for constipation, as well as medicines to decrease diarrhea, tranquilizers to calm you, or drugs that control colon muscle spasms to reduce abdominal pain. Antidepressants may also relieve some symptoms.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Medications

Medications available to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome specifically are the following:

  • Alosetron hydrochloride (Lotronex) has been re-approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for women with severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome who have not responded to conventional therapy and whose primary symptom is diarrhea. However, even in these patients, it should be used with caution because it can have serious side effects, such as severe constipation or decreased blood flow to the colon.
  • Tegaserod maleate (Zelnorm) has been approved by the FDA for the short-term treatment (usually 4 weeks) of women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome whose primary symptom is constipation.
  • With any medication, even over-the-counter medications such as laxatives and fiber supplements, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions. Laxatives can be habit forming if they are not used carefully or are used too frequently.

It is also important to note that medications affect people differently and that no one medication or combination of medications will work for everyone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. You need to work with your doctor to find the best combination of medicine, diet, counseling, and support to control your symptoms.

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