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IBS Medications

ibs medicationsThere are many different medications that are being used for various types of IBS. We are happy to tell you about our experience with these medications.

There are too many to list, but these are some of the most popular ones.

Amitiza (lubiprostone)

Amitiza is a medication used to treat constipation. It has many side-effects, including nausea, diarrhea, headache, urinary tract infection, abdominal pain, sinusitis, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal distention, and flatulence. We do not recommend this medication for our patients. In our experience there are much more effective and safer ways to treat IBS with constipation.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are often prescribed by doctors for IBS. There is a theory that IBS is caused by poor regulation of neurotransmitters in the relationship between the brain and the significant neural network in the gut. This is an intriguing theory, but any poor regulation of neurotransmitters in the gut is not caused by a lack of antidepressant medications.

Unfortunately, if you’re given an antidepressant for your IBS, it means your doctor has raised the white flag and surrendered. The only hope is that you’ll feel a little bit better and not complain about your IBS as much.

Brand names include Celexa, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, among others. They don’t cure your IBS and they don’t address the cause of the problem. We can help you find the true cause.

Celexa

Celexa is an antidepressant. See Antidepressants above.

Creon (pancrelipase)

Creon is a prescription enzyme. Enzymes may or may not be helpful. (See entry on the IBS Supplements page.) This enzyme is no different than non-prescription enzymes available on the market. We carry non-prescription enzymes that are exactly like Creon, or even stronger than Creon, and we carry many other types of enzymes as well.

There is nothing special or unique about this medication, and you can save a lot of money getting it over the counter if it is appropriate for your situation. We can help you figure that out.

Bentyl (dicyclomine)

Dicyclomine is an antispasmodic drug used for diarrhea. Potential side effects include constipation, nausea, bloating, lightheadedness, weakness, blurred vision, and dry eyes, to name just a few. It does not cure IBS. In our experience this medication is more likely to cause problems than fix your IBS.

Imodium (loperamide)

Imodium is one the most commonly-used over-the-counter treatments for diarrhea. Imodium is just as effective, if not more effective, than most of the prescription medications available on the market. But it does not cure diarrhea. It only provides temporary relief of the symptom of diarrhea.

There can be risks when taking it long term. It is an opioid medication, and therefore there is potential for abuse. We strongly recommend avoiding using it long term. We can help you treat the cause of your diarrhea and eliminate your need for Imodium or any other temporary treatment.

Kaopectate (loperamide)

Kaopectate is used to treat diarrhea. Like Imodium, it has the same active ingredient and the same limitations. See Imodium above.

Laxatives

These are used to treat constipation by alleviating the immediate problem. Laxatives do not cure constipation, and the longer you use them, the more difficult it is to get by without them. Laxatives should only be used very temporarily and sporadically at the most.

If you need laxatives in order to have a bowel movement, then you have IBS and would be better served to find the cause of the problem and eliminate your need for laxatives as soon as possible.

Levsin (hyoscyamine)

Hyoscyamine is an antispasmodic drug used to treat abdominal cramping. Side effects include constipation, bloating, heartburn, nausea, insomnia, dizziness, and headaches, as well as many others. It does not cure IBS. As with other antispasmodic drugs, we do not recommend this medication for long term use. In our experience there are much better ways to treat abdominal cramping.

Librax (chlordiazepoxide and clidinium)

Librax is a combination of two medications, one is an antispasmodic and the other is a psychoactive benzodiazepine for treating anxiety and depression. This medication is used to treat abdominal cramping.

Like many of the other medications listed here, side-effects include constipation, bloating, nausea, dizziness, and weakness. The side-effects can be worse than the original symptoms.

This drug does not address any underlying cause of IBS and does not cure IBS. We do not recommend it. In our experience there are much better solutions for treating IBS.

Linzess (linaclotide)

Linzess is another popular, well-advertised medication used in the treatment of constipation. Linzess can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, heartburn, vomiting, gas, bloating, headaches, and cold symptoms, to name a few.

It does not cure constipation. The FDA has already limited the use of this drug due to the unusually high number of deaths among patients taking it. We do not recommend this medication. In our experience there are much better ways to treat diarrhea.

Lotronex (alosetron)

Lotronex may be used by women with diarrhea. It has serious potential side-effects, including bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, gas, and nausea (to mention only a few).

It does not cure IBS. It may help your symptoms, but we do not recommend taking this medication long term. In our experience there are much safer and more reliable treatments for IBS.

Maalox

Maalox is used for diarrhea. Like Imodium, it has the same active ingredient and the same limitations. See Imodium above.

Nexium (esomeprazole)

Nexium is a PPI. See PPIs below.

Nortriptyline

Nortriptyline is an antidepressant. See Antidepressants above.

Paxil

Paxil is an antidepressant. See Antidepressants above.

PPIs

PPIs (Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, etc.) are not designed for IBS, but we have seen so many patients who have been put on PPIs by other doctors that we must address them here. PPIs shut down the production of stomach acid. The only impact they might have on your IBS is to make it worse.

PPIs are also not designed to be used longer than 8 weeks, and they come with a variety of side effects, such as gas, abdominal pain, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, reduced bone density, increased Clostridium difficile infections, pneumonia, and yeast overgrowth in the digestive tract. We cannot advocate the use of PPIs in IBS patients. And if you have heartburn or reflux, we can help you with that too.

Protonix (pantoprazole)

Protonix is a PPI. See PPIs above.

Prevacid (lansoprazole)

Prevacid is a PPI. See PPIs above.

Prilosec (omeprazole)

Prilosec is a PPI. See PPIs above.

Prozac

Prozac is an antidepressant. See Antidepressants above.

Questran (cholestyramine)

Cholestyramine is a medication that binds bile. It is sometimes used in IBS patients who have problems with their gallbladder. It may help with certain types of diarrhea, but it is not a cure for most types of IBS. If you have used cholestyramine and it hasn’t solved your problem, then we can help you find the other pieces of your health puzzle.

Reglan (metoclopramide)

Reglan is a drug that increases muscle contractions in the upper digestive tract, which will speed up the rate at which the stomach empties into the intestines. It may be used for reflux or for motility disorders.

It is not intended to be used long term and is not a cure for IBS. Most people who take Reglan experience drowsiness. Other side-effects include diarrhea, depression, low blood pressure, and fatigue. We do not recommend using Reglan for IBS.

Rifaxamin (xifaxan)

Rifaxamin is an antibiotic being used to treat SIBO (You can read more about this on the IBS Causes page). It’s extremely popular in the IBS world lately and is supported by lots of advertising. It is not better than other antibiotics, and it does not kill all types of bacteria.

However, it is not absorbed, so it can only be used for treating bacteria in the digestive tract. Therefore it has been heavily marketed for this purpose. It’s unlikely that it will cure your IBS, unless you happen to be suffering from SIBO, but it will also kill helpful bacteria in your gut.

If you’ve tried it and it didn’t work, or only helped temporarily, don’t despair. There are other options, and other treatable issues that can be contributing to your IBS.

Viberzi (eluxadoline)

Viberzi is a newer drug for treating diarrhea and abdominal pain. You might recognize the ad for this drug on TV that has a girl in a skin-colored body suite with an image of her digestive tract and she is following around an IBS sufferer. In spite of the happy ad, it does not cure diarrhea.

Side-effects include worse abdominal pain, pancreatitis, constipation, nausea, and upper respiratory infections, to name a few. We do not recommend this medication for long term use. In our experience there are much better ways to treat diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Wellbutrin (bupropion)

Wellbutrin is an antidepressant. See Antidepressants above.

Zoloft (sertraline)

Zoloft is an antidepressant. See Antidepressants above.

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