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Depression Health Center

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Antidepressants for Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Topic Overview

Antidepressants are used to treat depression, anxiety, or both by correcting imbalances in brain chemistry. For people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), doses much lower than those usually used to treat depression can help relieve symptoms of IBS such as pain, bloating, and feeling like you are unable to pass a stool.1

They may be used to treat chronic, unremitting abdominal (belly) pain that interferes with your daily activities. Here are some examples of antidepressants used to treat IBS. Your doctor may give you one that is not in this list.

Recommended Related to Depression

Coping With Side Effects of Antidepressants

Like any medication, antidepressants can cause side effects. The specific problems vary from drug to drug -- and from person to person. In fact, side effects are one of the main reasons that people with depression stop taking their medicine during their recovery. One study found that 65% of the 1,000 people surveyed said they had stopped taking their medicine, and half of those people cited side effects as the reason. Yet it's important to keep in mind that antidepressants can help you recover...

Read the Coping With Side Effects of Antidepressants article > >

For people who have IBS along with depression and anxiety, these medicines may be used in doses that are usually used to treat depression or anxiety. Some antidepressants may make constipation worse. Others may make diarrhea worse. You may start to feel better in 1 to 3 weeks after taking antidepressant medicine. But it can take as many as 6 to 8 weeks to see more improvement. If you have questions or concerns about your medicines, or if you do not notice any improvement by 3 weeks, talk to your doctor. See the topic Depression for more information.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. Talk to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide.

See Drug Reference for more information about these medicines. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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