Munson Health
Medications for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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by Polsdorfer R
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medicines listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medicines as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
Since there is no known cause of IBS, medicines are used to treat specific symptoms. There are several types of medicines that are thought by some doctors to be helpful. But, not all of the medicines listed below are of proven value in treating symptoms of IBS. In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you take a combination of medicines.

Prescription Medications

  • Hyoscyamine (such as Anaspaz, HyoMax)
  • Cimetropium
  • Dicyclomine (Bentyl)
  • Loperamide (such as Imodium A-D)
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Domperidone (Motilium)
  • Cisapride (Propulsid)
  • Metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • Alosetron (Lotronex)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Rifaximin
  • Lubiprostone

Prescription Medications

Common names include:
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil, Endep)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
Depression is a common symptom in people with IBS. Some of these drugs may have antispasmodic effects.
Possible side effects include:
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disruption
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Impaired sexual function


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