More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Antidepressant may calm irritable bowel
Wed Jul 26, 2006
By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Treatment with so-called SSRI antidepressants seems to reduce abdominal symptoms and promote overall well being in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to results of a small trial.

These antidepressants, Dr. Jan Tack told Reuters Health, "could be considered in IBS patients who do not respond well enough to a classical treatment approach."

SSRIs are often used in the treatment of IBS "although evidence of their efficacy is scarce," Tack from University of Leuven in Belgium and colleagues note in the journal Gut.

They therefore compared treatment with the SSRI citalopram (brand name, Celexa) to treatment with an inactive "placebo" in 23 patients with IBS who were free of depression. They took one or other of the pills for six weeks, then switched to the other for six weeks after a three-week "washout" period.

"After three and six weeks of treatment, citalopram significantly improved abdominal pain, bloating, impact of symptoms on daily life, and overall well being compared with placebo," the team reports.

Citalopram's ability to alleviate several IBS symptoms seems unrelated to its effect on depression or anxiety, because depressed patients were excluded from the study and changes in mood did not correlate with IBS symptom improvement.

"Citalopram provided symptomatic benefit of rapid onset, was well tolerated, and was not associated with the side effects of tricyclic antidepressants, such as drowsiness or constipation," Tack and colleagues point out.

SOURCE: Gut, August 1, 2006, 103.



I've had troubles with IBS ... which often goes with fibromyalgia too (also interesting) ... I hear they often treat fibromyalgia with anti-depressants. It seems to help, from what I've heard.

I was on Zoloft for a year, for anxiety and depression, a few years ago, and it helped greatly, maybe in more ways than I know ;)

I stopped the Zoloft after a year because I wanted to be able to think and feel emotion again, which I didn't when on Zoloft aka Sertraline. I really hated feeling emotionally unresponsive, and other people who'd always known me, and some who didn't, were sometimes "put off" by my "unfeelingness". In spite of that, I wish I'd had Zoloft way, way back when ... could have calmed me down and settled my tummy when most needed ;)

Daniel E.
CBT is Effective for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Beck Institute Blog

A recent study posted in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, a journal publishing clinical articles on all aspects of the digestive system, shows evidence that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for irritable bowl syndrome (IBS).

The study included 71 participants, with moderately severe IBS symptoms, who were randomly assigned to one of two conditions; they either received 10 weekly 1-hour sessions of CBT, or 4 1-hour sessions over 10 weeks.

Results showed that “rapid responders”, those who began to see improvements in their IBS symptoms within the first 4 weeks, had maintained the improvements at both immediate and 3-month check ups after treatment had ended. No difference was observed between the patients who received 4 sessions and those who received 10 sessions during the 10 weeks.

Lackner, J. M., Gudleski, G. D., Keefer, L., Powell, C., & Katz, L. A. (2010). Rapid response to cognitive behavior therapy predicts treatment outcome in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 8, 426-432.
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