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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Health Center

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Antibiotic May Aid Irritable Bowel

Xifaxan Reduces Bloating, May Attack Main IBS Cause

Controversy Over IBS Treatment continued...

In an editorial accompanying the Pimentel study, Drossman notes that IBS is a complex disorder that springs from the complex interplay of an oversensitive gut and the brain.

Breath tests, he says, aren't reliable for diagnosing bacterial overgrowth. And Pimentel's study, he says, does not prove that treating bacterial overgrowth helps.

Drossman is not impressed by Pimentel's finding that IBS patients reported an average 36.4% improvement in the 10 weeks after treatment with Xifaxan, while those given placebo treatment reported an average 21% improvement.

"Only bloating improved, and abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation did not improve," Drossman notes. "The benefit of using antibiotics is not fully proven and must be balanced with potential risks in terms of side effects, high costs … and the need for recurrent treatment."

Pimentel says new studies now coming out will support the bacterial-overgrowth theory of IBS. He does, however, say people with IBS have "movement disorders of the small bowel." He is hoping that a drug to promote movement in the small bowel will improve outcomes for IBS patients treated with antibiotics.

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