Emerging treatments for irritable bowel syndrome

Joseph Ahn, Eli D. Ehrenpreis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional GI disorder that is associated with abdominal discomfort and altered bowel habits. It accounts for up to 28% of patients presenting to a gastroenterology practice and poses a significant personal, societal and economic burden internationally. The Manning, Rome I and Rome II criteria were developed to identify appropriate IBS patients for entry into IBS studies in a consistent manner. Refinements in the understanding of the physiology of the enteric nervous system (ENS), which controls motility, secretion and sensation, provided the basis for our comprehension of the pathophysiology of IBS. Visceral hypersensitivity and neurotransmitter imbalance currently receive the most attention as possible mechanisms of IBS. This article outlines conventional treatments and reviews the data on emerging and experimental therapies for IBS. Emerging therapies for IBS using 5-HT mediation include 5-HT3 antagonists, such as ondasetron, granisetron and alosetron, as well as 5-HT4 agonists such as tegaserod and prucalopride. In addition to opioid agonists (e.g. fedotozine) several other drugs that act on other ENS receptors are being studied. In spite of significant progress in IBS research, these emerging therapies require more studies before they can be utilised as clinical treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-21
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-HT
  • Abdominal pain
  • Alosetron
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fedotozine
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Tegaserod
  • Visceral sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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