Traditional IBS Treatments Cause Side Effects

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) often try multiple medications, bothprescription and OTC, in an attempt toalleviate their symptoms. Many of thesetherapies, however, have not been examinedin large clinical trials involvingpatients with IBS. Therefore, the frequencyand severity of the side effects associatedwith their use are unknown.

In the October 2004 issue of the Journal ofClinical Gastroenterology, Anthony Lembo,MD, reported the results of a survey givento an on-line panel of patients with physician-diagnosed IBS. The survey examinedthe incidence and severity of side effectsassociated with traditional IBS medications,as well as patient satisfaction with thesemedications. Results showed that patientswith IBS with constipation (IBS-C; 504 of668) had tried an average of 3.9 + 3.3 medications(fiber, OTC and/or prescription laxatives)for their IBS-C symptoms; nearly allpatients (99%) reported that they had triedat least 1 medication. These patients reportedhaving experienced an average of 3.3 +2.7 side effects, and nearly three quartersreported having discontinued treatmentbecause of side effects.

The author concluded that traditionaltherapies for IBS-C are associated with sideeffects that have a negative effect onpatient quality of life.