One Tummy Fix for Other Troubles

Inflammatory bowel syndrome remedy helps ease pain and regulates stools

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

(RxWiki News) One stomach ache here can cause another kind of stomach ache there. And if that's the case, can one treatment help out both?

New research showed that a drug used to treat ulcerative colitis can improve stool consistency and decrease pain in patients who have irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea.

This study's results "emphasize the role of treating stomach inflammation as a disorder.”

"Ask about the proper medicine dosage."

Mesalamine granules are an anti-inflammatory drug used typically to treat such problems as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, two of the most common inflammatory bowel diseases in the US.

The study, led by Jeffrey Aron, MD, a gastroenterologist at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, included 148 patients with inflammatory bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D).

In the disorder, which affects 10 to 15 percent of the US population, patients feel bloating, constipation and discomfort in the abdomen.

The patients were divided into one of three groups. The first two groups received either 750 mg or 1500 mg of the granules once a day for three months.

The last group received a fake pill. Neither researchers nor the participants knew who was receiving which medicine.

“IBS is a more mild expression of intolerance of the person's immune system to the environment of the gut in that it disturbs function rather than destroying structure in certain anatomical and pathologic patterns as seen in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease," Dr. Aron said a press release.

"Control of inflammation, to me, is the key to treating these disorders.”

Forty-seven percent of patients who had 1500 mg of the medicine had improved stool consistency and less pain at least 2 of the 4 weeks for two months, compared to only 28 percent of patients who had the fake pill.

About 32 percent of those who had the smaller dose had improved symptoms. The differences between that group and those with the fake pill were not significant.

"These results confirm earlier observations that aminosalicylates may have a therapeutic role in symptomatic treatment of IBS-D…" he said.

Future studies should look at the treatment in a larger population, the authors said.

Funding information was not available.

The study was presented October 22 at the American College of Gastroenterology’s 77th Annual Scientific meeting. Findings presented at conferences should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 29, 2012
Last Updated:
November 5, 2012