A new study found that patients reported greater global improvements in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and less bloating after taking rifaximin than patients taking placebo. The randomized, double-blind study is the first to demonstrate a sustained benefit of an antibiotic for IBS symptoms after treatment is stopped.
The study, "The Effect of a Nonabsorbed Oral Antibiotic (Rifaximin) on the Symptoms of the Irritable Bowl Syndrome," is published in the October 17, 2006, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The entire article is available to the public on October 17, 2006, at http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/145/8/557.
IBS is one of the most common chronic medical conditions – affecting about 15 to 20 percent of the population. Its cause is unknown but some IBS patients exhibit an overabundance of bacteria in the small bowel of the colon.
"This is the first possible treatment for the potential causative factors of IBS," said Mark Pimentel, MD, FRCP(C), Director, GI Motility Program, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the study's lead author. "Patients can take the antibiotic for a brief period of time and experience benefit for ten weeks."
In the study, 87 patients with IBS between the ages of 18 and 65 received 1200 mg of rifaximin (an antibiotic that works in the gut without being absorbed into the blood stream) a day or a placebo for 10 days. Patients reported their symptoms for the next 10 weeks.
More than 50 percent improvement in symptoms was reported by more patients who took rifaximin (37.2 percent) than by those who took placebo (15 percent). However, the researchers did not detect a difference in symptoms of diarrhea or constipation. Rifaximin is FDA approved for the treatment of travelers' diarrhea.
The nonabsorbed antibiotic seems to cause few side effects, another benefit for patients.
"Rifaximin doesn't get into the blood stream and interact with other medications," Dr. Pimentel said.
The drug helped patient Cynthia Greenspan get her life back.
"After the first five days of taking the medication, I started feeling better," said Greenspan. "After 10 days, I couldn't believe how much better I felt."
The researchers caution that while the study demonstrates improvement for a relatively small group of IBS patients, side effects may be difficult to assess in such a small study when considering the potentially large patient population with IBS. A larger and longer study is necessary to evaluate the effects of treatment for other symptoms, such as constipation.
In a separate editorial, Douglas A. Drossman, M.D., wrote, "Demonstrating benefit from a short course of an antibiotic for a sustained period of time in unselected patients with IBS is certainly novel and important."
Steve Majewski | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine