Medicine may be used along with
lifestyle changes to manage symptoms of
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It may be prescribed to treat moderate to
severe pain, diarrhea, or constipation that does not respond to home treatment.
Medicine can help relieve your symptoms enough to prevent them from
interfering with your daily activities. It may not be possible to
eliminate your symptoms.
Rifaximin (Xifaxan), which has been shown to help people who have diarrhea and bloating as their worst symptoms. In one study, people who had fewer symptoms after 2 weeks of taking rifaximin continued to have fewer symptoms for 10 weeks after stopping the medicine. But rifaximin is very expensive, and more research needs to be done. There are still many questions about this treatment, including who will get the most benefit, how long the effect will last, and whether retreatment will work when symptoms come back.5
Alosetron (Lotronex), which is used for some women who
have severe diarrhea. This medicine has been shown to contribute to ischemic bowel disease. Specific guidelines for the use of alosetron require doctors who prescribe it to sign a certificate and patients to sign a consent form.
There are many medicines for severe
constipation that doesn't improve with home treatment. Most of these medicines are available without a prescription and are okay to take once in a while. Check with your doctor before you use any of these medicines every day for constipation. Medicines for constipation include:
Osmotic laxatives (such as Milk of Magnesia and nonabsorbable
sugars such as lactulose).
Polyethylene glycol (such as MiraLax).
Stimulant laxatives (such as Senokot).
Pain and cramping
The following medicines
may be used for long-term pain and cramping: