More Upsetting News About Irritable Bowel Treatment
But the argument goes both ways. Other experts say that drugs
like Lotronex are needed desperately, even though IBS is not a life-threatening
Prior to the approval of Lotronex in February 2000, physicians
recommended psychiatric treatment or a change in lifestyle as ways to treat
IBS. But to assume that these treatments are sufficient is to ignore a major
quality-of-life issue that can be debilitating, Harris Clearfield, MD, a
professor of medicine at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia,
recently told WebMD. "I would also take issue with the notion that IBS is
often misdiagnosed," he said.
Lotronex, which is approved for women whose predominate symptom
is diarrhea, is the first drug to be approved for IBS in decades. The FDA is
now expected to approve another IBS drug called Zelmac (tegaserod), which
probably will be launched in the first half of 2001.
But even then, Public Citizen is expected to protest that
approval because the drug has been associated with ovarian cysts.
"Right now, it looks like there is a lack of effectiveness
and a real risk of side effects" associated with these drugs, Sasich told
WebMD in an interview.