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Irritable Bowel Syndrome
May 2000

Q. My wife suffers from Irritable Bowel syndrome. She has been on multiple meds without much relief. She frequently has Abdominal pain and diarrhea. Is there anything new she could try?

A. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common gastrointestinal disorder characterized by intermittent Abdominal pain, and bloating, often with periods of either diarrhea and/or constipation. We do not know the cause, but we believe there is a disorder of the nerve innervation of the small intestine. Stress often makes it worse.

Often, other tests are done to rule out other disorders, but with IBS, those tests such as sigmoidoscopy are normal, as is blood work. Therefore, it is a clinical diagnosis. The treatment usually consists of a high fiber diet, usually including Metamucil or a similar fiber supplement. If this is inadequate, antispasmotics are often used such as Levbid. If this fails, then fortunately, there is a new drug available for women with IBS with predominantly diarrhea; Lotronex (Alosetron). The drug works by inhibiting serotonin receptors in the gut (5-HT3 antagonist). Many patients get relief from the abdominal pain and diarrhea. The most common adverse effect was constipation (in 28% of patients). Otherwise, the drug has been very well tolerated in the studies to date. The dose is one tab (1 mg) twice per day. If constipation occurs, the drug may need to be held.

I hope this helps. for more info: www.glaxowellcome.com

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