There are many IBS MEDICATIONS available which can help relieve diarrhea, constipation and pain symptoms.
Irritable Bowel drugs are a great "adjunct" treatment when used in combination with diet, lifestyle and and other remedies.
So lets explore this further...
IBS medications are not a cure, but they are a good way of allowing you to TAKE CONTROL of your bowel movements and pain issues, something that I believe is very important to anyone with the condition.
The choice of drug depends on the type of IBS you have.They can be broadly divided into the anti-spasm drugs or antispasmodics, laxatives, antidiarrheals, bulking agents and miscellaneous options.
I would advise using them when your symptoms are severe, or when more conservative measures such as diet and lifestyle are ineffective.
Before finding out more about this, enter the treatments you have already tried below. You will then have the opportunity to compare this with other visitors......
ANTISPASMODIC DRUGS are used for pain relief and are particularly good when you have cramps.
They have relatively widespread use as IBS medications and some of them may already be familiar to you.
They work by reducing the spasm symptoms that can be experienced in all forms of Irritable Bowel.
The most common ones used are:
Hyoscine butylbromide or Buscopan - another anti-spasm drug - can be taken up to four times a day. This is an ANTICHOLINERGIC, relieving symptoms by exerting an effect on your gut muscles at a cell level, thus reducing bowel spasm and pain.
Because of the so called ANTIMUSCARINIC or anticholinergic side effects you might experience dry mouth, blurring of vision and urine retention with both hyoscine butylbromide. Thankfully, these side effects are generally well tolerated, but shouldn't be ignored if you experience them.
Mebeverine hydrochloride - trade name is COLOFAC - is is commonly prescribed by doctors and can be taken three times a day. It's has no anticholinergic effects so is well tolerated.
Peppermint Oil capsules - trade name of MINTEC or COLPERMIN - can be taken three times a day. They work on anti-pain channels to reduce your discomfort and are a good, natural product. They come in capsule form to allow easy passage of the medication in to your bowel without, without causing any irritation in your mouth.
They have VERY FEW SIDE EFFECTS, which is great news, although they may increase acid reflux symptoms if you are susceptible because they relax the "sphincter mechanism" between your esophagus and stomach (this normally prevents reflux occurring).
ANTIDIARRHOEALS are used relieve symptoms in diarrhoea predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
These drugs reduce your guts contractility, but should be used with caution, as they can paradoxically increase spasm symptoms.
The common ones used are:
Loperamide - trade name of Imodium - is a common antidiarrheal medication which can be prescribed or purchased in your local pharmacy.
Co-Phenotrope or Lomotil - is an IBS treatment prescribed to reduce the number of bowel movements you have.
Codeine - is an ideal option as it can help relieve both diarrhea and bowel spasms. It can become addictive so it should be used sparingly when symptoms are bad.
They're in the same family of drugs as the opiates, morphine and diamorphine (heroin), but much weaker.
They work by stimulating opiate receptors in your bowel wall which in turn reduces your guts contraction and bowel movements.
Antidiarrheal IBS medications do have side effects and these include:
Some IBS-D sufferers don’t like antidiarrheal medications because of the constipating effect - this has always seemed a bit of a paradox to me!
The other group are the BULKING AGENTS which work by 'bulking up' your bowel motion, making it easier for your bowel to handle the passage of stool through your gut.
Its action is achieved by the physical bulk as well as drawing fluid in to the fiber and stool.
The commonly used bulking agents are
MISCELLANEOUS IBS MEDICATIONS include:
I won’t go in to detail with these drugs as the latter two are rarely used now, but if you click on their links you can find out more detail including indications, doses and common side effects.
There's also new medication for IBS-C constipation, particularly in refractory or resistant symptoms. These include:
So, in summary, Irritable Bowel Syndrome medication can help some sufferers, but should be thought of as an adjunct rather than a cure in the management of your IBS.