A ground-breaking antibiotic therapy developed at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is the first potential drug treatment to provide irritable bowel syndrome patients with long-lasting relief of their symptoms even after they stop taking the medication, according to a study published in the Jan. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Unlike in traditional therapies for irritable bowel syndrome, such as when taking antidepressant and other medications that have benefits only while on the drug, patients in the study reported relief of their symptoms extended for weeks after completing treatment with rifaximin. Rifaximin is a minimally absorbed antibiotic that stays in the gut. Specifically, patients reported relief from bloating, less abdominal pain and improved stool consistency for up to 10 weeks.
While the concept of bacteria playing a key role in this condition was controversial when first unveiled a decade ago, this research confirms that bacteria in the gut, also known as “gut flora,” trigger the symptoms of the chronic condition, affecting an estimated 30 million people in the United States.
These findings show that targeted antibiotics provide safe and effective long-lasting relief for this condition, said Mark Pimentel, M.D., GI Motility Program director and principal investigator of the clinical trials at Cedars-Sinai.
“For years, the treatment options for IBS patients have been extremely limited,” Pimentel said. “IBS often does not respond well to treatments currently available, such as dietary changes and fiber supplements alone. With this antibiotic treatment, the patients feel better, and they continue to feel better after stopping the drug. This means that we did something to strike at the cause of the disease.”
In two, 600-plus patient double-blind trials, IBS patients with mild to moderate diarrhea and bloating were randomly assigned to take a 550 milligram dose of rifaximin or placebo three times daily for two weeks. Study participants were then followed for 10 weeks more. About 40 percent of patients who took the drug reported they had significant relief from bloating, abdominal pain and loose or watery stools. Further, that relief was sustained for weeks after they stopped taking the antibiotic.
Doctors commonly categorize IBS patients with a “constipation predominant” condition, a “diarrhea-predominant” condition, or an alternating pattern of diarrhea and constipation. In addition, patients often experience abdominal pain or cramps, excess gas or bloating, and visible abdominal distension.
Because the cause of the disease had been elusive, treatments for the disease historically have focused on relieving its symptoms with medications that either slow or speed up the digestive process. Earlier research by Pimentel and colleagues documents a link between bloating, the most common symptom, and bacterial fermentation in the gut related to small intestine bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO.
Rifaximin is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat travelers’ diarrhea and hepatic encephalopathy.
Besides Cedars-Sinai, other centers participating in the clinical trials included Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Connecticut Gastroenterology Institute in Bristol, Conn.
Rifaximin is marketed by Salix Pharmaceuticals Inc. Salix also provided funding for the studies. Pimentel discovered the use of rifaximin for IBS, and Cedars-Sinai holds patent rights to this discovery and has licensed rights to the invention to Salix. Dr. Pimentel is a consultant to Salix, Inc, and serves on its scientific advisory board.
Nicole White | Cedars-Sinai News
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy