Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is challenging for both primary care physicians and gastroenterologists because of the heterogeneity of the patient population and the multifactorial pathophysiologies responsible for the symptoms in IBS. This review focuses on the current and emerging pharmacological treatments for IBS. Many of the current medications used to treat this disorder have distinct properties such as efficacy for different symptoms, safety profiles, contraindications, costs, dosing regimens, treatment duration and long-term data. All of these factors, in addition to patient preference and cognitive, food and environmental triggers, must be considered prior to any medication selection. This review will focus on randomized controlled trials with a general uniformity in study design, a rigorous patient selection and appropriate treatment durations. We will also discuss other exciting emerging treatments for IBS such as the μ-opioid receptor (agonists and antagonists), selective κ-opioid receptor agonists, anti-inflammatory drugs, serotonergic agents, bile acid modulators and intestinal bile acid transporters, which may prove promising in treating our patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)