Rifaximin May Be Effective Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment Drug

A new medication may not be as effective as hoped for treating irritable bowel syndrome

A considerable number of Americans suffer from the symptoms that come with having irritable bowel syndrome. Currently, the primary cause of this disease is unidentified since endoscopy has not shown any anatomical abnormalities in the intestines.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently detailed a course of treatment for IBS which involves taking an antibiotic called Rifaximin. The drug provides relief from abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

For the study, 1260 patients were analyzed. Some of them were given the antibiotic while the other half was given a placebo.

After completing the two-week antibiotic course, 41 percent of the patients were able to experience some degree of relief from the symptoms caused by IBS. The placebo also improved symptoms for more than 30 percent of individuals.

While small differences exist between the drug and the placebo, some researchers do not believe it is enough to conclude that the said antibiotic was effective. Moreover, there were side effects to taking Rifaximin.

Relief from the symptoms of IBS declined in both groups approximately eight weeks after the treatment was completed. After 12, the treatment group reported an increase in symptom relief.

Experts suggest that the key is to first opt for the placebo treatment and steer clear from the side effects brought about by Rifaximin. Also, the fact that this study was conducted with the funds from the maker of Rifaximin cast a doubt on the credibility of the drug.

This drug has also been called Xifaxan (brand name), Rifamaxin, Rifaxamin, and more.