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What are the side effects of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)?

ANSWER

Side effects of these over-the-counter meds for IBS-D include belly cramping and bloating, along with dry mouth, dizziness, and constipation.

If you take a diarrhea medicine, use the lowest dose possible and don't take it for a long time.

Some OTC medicines for gas relief, such as simethicone (Gas-X, Mylicon), are generally safe.

Some antacids, especially those with magnesium, can cause diarrhea.

Don't take any OTC medicine for the long term without asking your doctor about it. IBS symptoms can be caused by other, more serious problems. Make sure you and your doctor have ruled out other causes of your symptoms.

SOURCES: 

Philip Schoenfeld, MD, professor of medicine, University of Michigan.

Jeanine Blackman, MD, PhD, Bethesda, MD.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Acupuncture." 

Mayo Clinic: "Irritable bowel syndrome." 

Medscape: "Probiotics Significantly Reduce Symptoms of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis," "Highlights from Digestive Disease Week: An Expert Interview with Lawrence R. Schiller, MD."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on March 09, 2016

SOURCES: 

Philip Schoenfeld, MD, professor of medicine, University of Michigan.

Jeanine Blackman, MD, PhD, Bethesda, MD.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Acupuncture." 

Mayo Clinic: "Irritable bowel syndrome." 

Medscape: "Probiotics Significantly Reduce Symptoms of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis," "Highlights from Digestive Disease Week: An Expert Interview with Lawrence R. Schiller, MD."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on March 09, 2016

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Are probiotics an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

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