Medications for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Other names: IBS; Spastic colon
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Symptoms can vary from person to person, and even in the same person, IBS symptoms may change from month-to-month. Most people with IBS have at least two of these symptoms:
- Multiple episodes of stomach discomfort for at least three months of the past year
- Altered bowel habits - passing feces more or less frequently than normal, or periods of constipation and then periods of diarrhea
- Pain, cramping, or discomfort in the abdomen that lessens after a bowel movement
- Mucus mixed in with the feces
- Swelling or bloating of the stomach, or a feeling of fullness soon after eating.
Increased stomach gurgling or bowel sounds are also reported frequently by people with IBS.
The American College of Gastroenterology defines IBS as "abdominal discomfort associated with altered bowel habits".
Once people develop IBS they usually have it long term (for life).
How is IBS Diagnosed?
IBS is difficult to diagnose.
It takes most people three years and at least three different doctors before they are given a diagnosis of IBS. Part of the difficulty with diagnosis rests with the many different presentations of IBS, which are:
- Constipation (constipation-predominant IBS or IBS-C)
- Diarrhea (diarrhea-predominant IBS or IBS-D)
- Mixed IBS (constipation and diarrhea at different times).
In addition, symptoms of IBS are similar to countless other conditions - such as:
- Food allergies
- Inflammatory bowel disease (eg, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease).
Most of these conditions need to be excluded before a definite diagnosis of IBS can be made.
The severity of the disorder varies from person to person. Some people experience symptoms that come and go and are just mildly annoying. Others have such severe daily bowel problems that IBS affects their ability to work, sleep and enjoy life. Also, symptoms may change over time. A person may have severe symptoms for several weeks and then feel well for months or even years.
Most people are never cured of IBS. However, people with IBS do not have an increased risk of colon cancer.
If you have ongoing abdominal discomfort associated with a change in bowel habits, see your doctor. There is no test for IBS. Your doctor will diagnose IBS if you have the typical symptoms and have been tested for other disorders that can cause similar symptoms.
Who is More at Risk of IBS?
Nobody knows what causes IBS but certain risk factors make you more likely to get the condition. The condition is more common in:
- People under the age of 45 years
- Those who already have a family member with IBS
- People under psychological stress, such as that associated with anxiety, depression, personality disorder, or a history of sexual abuse.
Dietary changes can improve some people’s symptoms dramatically; however, it may take a long time to discover what works well for you and what makes symptoms worse.
Some common IBS trigger foods include:
- Gas-producing foods such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, or beans
- Dairy products
- Fatty foods (such as butter, cream, cheese, oils, meats, and avocados)
- Raw fruits
- Sorbitol (an artificial sweetener).
Treatments for IBS depend on the predominating symptoms but may include:
- Newer agents that improve stool consistency and frequency.
Ask your doctor what IBS treatment is best for you.
Drugs used to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.
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Topics under Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Alternative treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Learn more about Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Symptoms and treatments
Medicine.com guides (external)
|Rating||For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).|
|Activity||Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.|
|Rx/OTC||Prescription or Over-the-counter.|
|Off-label||This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.|
|EUA||An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.|
|Expanded Access||Expanded Access is a potential pathway for a patient with a serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition to gain access to an investigational medical product (drug, biologic, or medical device) for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available.|
|A||Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).|
|B||Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.|
|C||Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.|
|D||There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.|
|X||Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.|
|N||FDA has not classified the drug.|
|Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule|
|M||The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.|
|U||CSA Schedule is unknown.|
|N||Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.|
|1||Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.|
|2||Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.|
|3||Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.|
|4||Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.|
|5||Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.|
|X||Interacts with Alcohol.|
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.