Calm Down Those Irritable Bowels

Antibiotic gives IBS sufferers long-term relief

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A huge breakthrough has been made in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and an antibiotic has already found long-term success in patients with the disease.

The first potential treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been developed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. IBS is characterized by chronic stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea and constipation and volatile bowel habits.

Patients treated with the antibiotic rifaximim reported relief from their symptoms for weeks. The antibiotic is "minimally absorbed," meaning it stays in the digestive system. Patients saw less bloating, stomach pains and better overall stool consistency for 10 weeks.

An estimated 30 million people in the US suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and only recently has it been confirmed that bacteria in the gut are responsible.

Patients treated with the drug, instead of with supplements or diets, responded better with the antibiotic and even after they stopped using it. Because the cause of the disease was never before understood, treatment often revolved around changing the digestive processes in order to provide relief from diarrhea or constipation.

With this recent breakthrough, doctors can now provide not only symptom relief but a remedy to help stop irritable bowel syndrome long-term. The antibiotic rifaximim has already been approved by the FDA.

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Review Date: 
January 7, 2011
Last Updated:
January 7, 2011