LOS ANGELES—Cedars-Sinai researchers have determined that two prevalent drug therapies—rifaximin and lubiprostone—offer some of the best options for treating irritable bowel syndrome, a widespread disorder that affects up to one in five Americans. The findings, based on an analysis of more than two dozen large-scale clinical trials, are contained in a peer-reviewed study published online by The American Journal of Medicine and set to appear in the publication’s April print edition.
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome often experience abdominal pain or cramps, excess gas or bloating and visible abdominal distension. Many drug therapies cause troubling side effects of their own, including nausea, insomnia, palpitations and decreased appetite.
“For the millions of patients who suffer from IBS, effective treatment options have been very scarce," said Dr. Mark Pimentel, a lead author of the study and director of Cedars-Sinai’s Gastrointestinal Motility Program.
Pimentel and the other researchers analyzed common treatments for IBS.
For diarrhea forms of the condition, they evaluated tricyclic antidepressants; alosetron, a drug that slows movement of stool in the gut; and rifaximin, an antibiotic that stays in the gut and is currently FDA-approved to treat traveler’s diarrhea and hepatic encephalopathy.
For constipation forms of IBS, the researchers examined antidepressants known as serotonin reuptake inhibitors and lubiprostone, a drug that promotes gut secretion.