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 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.
Is it possible to use St. John's wort, an herbal remedy, to treat depression? Millions of people around the world actually do. They see St. John's wort as an alternative or natural treatment for depression.
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 worsen constipation. Others may
worsen diarrhea. You may start to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks of 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.
FDA Advisories. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued:
A warning on the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) and birth defects. One new study showed that women who took
Paxil during their first 12 weeks of pregnancy had a slightly higher chance of
having a baby with birth defects.
advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of
suicide. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines.
Instead, a person taking antidepressants should be watched for
warning signs of suicide. This is especially important
at the beginning of treatment or when the doses are changed.
See Drug Reference for more information about these
medicines. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 17, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this