Irritable Bowel Syndrome (cont.)

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Psychotropic drugs

Patients with IBS are frequently found to be suffering from depression, but it is unclear if depression is a cause of IBS, the result of the IBS, or unrelated to the IBS. Several trials have shown that antidepressants are effective in IBS in relieving abdominal pain and, perhaps, diarrhea. The antidepressants work in IBS, however, at relatively low doses that have little or no effect on depression. It is believed therefore, that they are working not by combating depression, but in different ways (through different mechanisms). For example, these drugs have been shown to adjust (modulate) the activity of nerves and to have analgesic (pain-relieving) effects as well. Commonly used psychotropic drugs include the tricyclic antidepressants, amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep), desipramine (Norpramine), and trimipramine (Surmontil). Although studies are encouraging, it is not yet clear whether the newer class of antidepressants, the serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil) are effective.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/15/2014

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