Medications for IBS Diarrhea

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is a chronic and incurable digestive condition. So, the goal of any given IBS treatment is to ease symptoms and improve the quality of a patient’s life.

In mild-to-moderate cases of IBS, patients often successfully control and relieve their symptoms by lowering their stress level and making dietary adjustments. Five integral pillars of any IBS treatment plan include:

  • Pinpointing and keeping away from trigger foods (for instance, even individuals who do not have celiac disease may see an improvement in their symptoms if they eliminate gluten from their diet)
  • Increasing fiber intake (usually only recommended for those with constipation-predominant IBS)
  • Increasing your fluid intake
  • Adopting a regular exercise plan
  • Improving the quality of sleep

If your symptoms are in the moderate-to-severe range, however, your physician may recommend counseling, particularly if stress is a clear trigger. In combination with talk therapy for stress management, your physician may also recommend certain medications depending on your symptoms. The most commonly prescribed medications for diarrhea-predominant IBS include:

Antidiarrheals

There are various over-the-counter medicines that can be effective in managing diarrhea, including loperamide (Imodium). If you do not respond to non-prescription medications, your physician may also put you on a prescription-strength medication such as a bile acid binder. Some commonly prescribed bile acid binders are cholestyramine, colesevelam, and colestipol.

Antispasmodics

If you experience severe bowel contractions, your doctor may recommend the use of antispasmodic drugs like dicyclomine. These medicines are also typically used in the treatment of diarrhea-predominant IBS.

Antidepressants

You don’t need to have depression to go on antidepressants. As a matter¬†of fact, in some cases, doctors prescribe low doses of certain antidepressants such as Norpramin or to ease symptoms of IBS like stomach pain and diarrhea.

Alosetron

Also known by its brand name Lotronex, this medication soothes the colon and improves digestive motility. Alosetron is only approved to be used for the treatment of severe diarrhea-predominant IBS among women who have not had any success with other treatment options.

Eluxadoline

Also known by its brand name Viberzi, this medication works by controlling muscle spasms and movement of fluids in the colon to relieve diarrhea. Eluxadoline may cause stomach pain, nausea, and constipation in some.

Rifaximin

Available under the brand name Xifaxan, this medication is a form of antibiotic therapy that relieves diarrhea by controlling unwanted bacterial growth in the gut.

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Posted on May 22, 2023