Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Am Fam Physician. 2002 Nov 15;66(10):1867-1875.

  Patient Information Handout

Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common functional disorder of the gastrointestinal tract and is frequently treated by family physicians. Despite patients' worries about the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, it is a benign condition. The diagnosis should be made using standard criteria after red flags that may signify organic disease have been ruled out. An effective physician-patient relationship is vital to successful management. Episodes of diarrhea are best managed with loperamide, while constipation often will respond to fiber supplements. Antispasmodics or anticholinergic agents may help relieve the abdominal pain of irritable bowel syndrome. Refractory cases are often treated with tricyclic antidepressants. Newer agents such as tegaserod and ondansetron target neurotransmitter receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. Some forms of psychologic treatment may be helpful, and gastroenterology consultation is occasionally needed to reassure the patient. Comorbid conditions such as depression or anxiety should be investigated and treated.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a benign, chronic symptom complex of altered bowel habits and abdominal pain. It is considered a functional type of bowel disorder. That is, no organic or structural cause can be detected (using currently available diagnostic modalities) to explain its symptoms. It is the most common functional disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Other disorders in this group include functional dyspepsia, functional anorectal pain, and noncardiac chest pain. The many forms and presentations of IBS can make the diagnosis challenging, and its functional nature can make a satisfactory treatment regimen difficult.

Epidemiology

In the United States, IBS has been reported to account for up to 3.5 million physician visits annually, at an estimated cost of $8 billion. It remains the most common diagnosis in gastroenterologic practices.1

The reported prevalence of patients in the general population with symptoms consistent with IBS ranges from 10 to 20 percent, and only 10 to 30 percent of those patients seek medical care.2 At five-year follow-up of IBS patients, 5 percent report complete recovery and up to 30 percent report partial recovery.3

In most parts of the world, women are affected more often then men.4 IBS symptoms are common in adolescents and correlate with anxiety and depression in this population.5 Symptoms begin before 35 years of age in 50 percent of patients, and almost all report symptom onset before 50 years of age.4 Although IBS is seen in the elderly, new onset of symptoms after age 50 may indicate other organic pathology and warrants a more comprehensive evaluation.6

Etiology and Pathophysiology

The etiology of IBS remains unclear. Theories have ranged from purely psychologic to more recent proposals about postinfectious alterations in GI tract neuromuscular function. IBS may best be viewed as a biopsychosocial disorder in which altered GI motility, GI hypersensitivity, and psychosocial factors all interact to predispose someone to the syndrome.

Patients with IBS have an exaggerated gastrocolic reflex, altered gastric emptying, increased small bowel contractions, and increased small intestinal transit, all of which are exacerbated by food intake or stress.7 However, more than 50 percent of healthy individuals report similar symptoms during increased stress.8 Therefore, other factors likely play an important role in the patient who develops IBS.

One such factor may be the involvement of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which may stimulate intestinal secretion and peristalsis in addition to visceral pain receptors via 5-HT3 and 5-HT4 pathways. It is at neurotransmitter receptors such as these that new and investigational therapeutic agents are targeted.

Psychosocial factors also play an important role in the development of IBS and may be the most important factors in terms of who manifests IBS and how severe it becomes.9 For example, traumatic life events such as a history of physical or sexual abuse have been shown to correlate with the development of IBS and the severity of its symptoms.10 Studies have repeatedly shown a higher incidence of anxiety, hypochondriasis, and depression in IBS patients.11 A multicomponent model (Figure 1) has been proposed that shows the relationship of psychosocial (cognitive, behavior, emotional) and physiologic components of IBS.7

Multicomponent Model of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

FIGURE 1.

Multicomponent model of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Development of IBS symptoms can be explained by the interrelation of cognitive, behavior, emotional, and physiologic components.

Adapted with permission from Mayer EA. Emerging disease model for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Am J Med 1999;107(5A):13S.

View Large

Multicomponent Model of Irritable Bowel Syndrome


FIGURE 1.

Multicomponent model of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Development of IBS symptoms can be explained by the interrelation of cognitive, behavior, emotional, and physiologic components.

Adapted with permission from Mayer EA. Emerging disease model for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Am J Med 1999;107(5A):13S.

Multicomponent Model of Irritable Bowel Syndrome


FIGURE 1.

Multicomponent model of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Development of IBS symptoms can be explained by the interrelation of cognitive, behavior, emotional, and physiologic components.

Adapted with permission from Mayer EA. Emerging disease model for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Am J Med 1999;107(5A):13S.

Clinical Presentation

Abdominal pain relieved by defecation and pain associated with looser or more frequent stools are the hallmark signs and symptoms of IBS. Patients also may experience diarrhea, constipation, alternating diarrhea and constipation, mucus in stools, dyspepsia, atypical chest pain, bloating, and gas. Symptoms are typically worse at times of increased stress.

The most widely accepted diagnostic criteria for IBS are the Rome Criteria. The Rome I criteria (Table 1)12  require the presence of at least two supportive features in addition to the main criteria. The Rome II criteria (Table 2)13 base the diagnosis on the presence of two of the three main criteria without the need of additional supportive criteria.14  The presence of any red flags (Table 3)6,13  should alert the physician to an alternate diagnosis. For treatment purposes, the following symptom-guided categories are useful: pain-predominant, diarrhea-predominant, or constipation-predominant. Constipation may alternate with diarrhea in some IBS patients. Table 4 lists some pharma-cotherapeutic options based on predominant symptoms.

TABLE 1

Rome I Criteria

At least three months of continuous or recurrent symptoms of abdominal pain that is:

Relieved by defecation

and/or

Associated with a change in stool consistency

and/or

Associated with a change in frequency of stool

Plus two or more of the following greater than 25 percent of the time:

Altered stool frequency (more than three per day or less than three per week)

Altered stool form (lumpy, hard or watery, loose)

Altered stool passage (straining, urgency, or incomplete evacuation)

Passage of mucus

Bloating or feeling of abdominal distention


Adapted with permission from Vanner SJ, Depew WT, Paterson WG, DaCosta LR, Groll AG, Simon JB, et al. Predictive value of the Rome criteria for diagnosing the irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 1999;94:2912–7.

TABLE 1   Rome I Criteria

View Table

TABLE 1

Rome I Criteria

At least three months of continuous or recurrent symptoms of abdominal pain that is:

Relieved by defecation

and/or

Associated with a change in stool consistency

and/or

Associated with a change in frequency of stool

Plus two or more of the following greater than 25 percent of the time:

Altered stool frequency (more than three per day or less than three per week)

Altered stool form (lumpy, hard or watery, loose)

Altered stool passage (straining, urgency, or incomplete evacuation)

Passage of mucus

Bloating or feeling of abdominal distention


Adapted with permission from Vanner SJ, Depew WT, Paterson WG, DaCosta LR, Groll AG, Simon JB, et al. Predictive value of the Rome criteria for diagnosing the irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 1999;94:2912–7.

TABLE 2

Rome II Criteria

12 or more weeks of continuous or recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort

Plus at least two of the following:

Relieved by defecation

and/or

Associated with change in frequency of stool

and/or

Associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool


Adapted with permission from Drossman DA, Corazziari E, Talley NJ, Thompson WG, Whitehead WE. Rome II: the functional gastrointestinal disorders: a multinational consensus. Gut 1999; 45(suppl 2):1–81.

TABLE 2   Rome II Criteria

View Table

TABLE 2

Rome II Criteria

12 or more weeks of continuous or recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort

Plus at least two of the following:

Relieved by defecation

and/or

Associated with change in frequency of stool

and/or

Associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool


Adapted with permission from Drossman DA, Corazziari E, Talley NJ, Thompson WG, Whitehead WE. Rome II: the functional gastrointestinal disorders: a multinational consensus. Gut 1999; 45(suppl 2):1–81.

TABLE 3

Red Flags in Evaluating for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Anemia

Family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease

Fever

Heme-positive stools

New or recent onset in patient older than 50 years

Nocturnal symptoms

Palpable abdominal or rectal mass

Persistent diarrhea or severe constipation

Recent antibiotic use

Rectal bleeding

Weight loss


Information from references 6 and 13.

TABLE 3   Red Flags in Evaluating for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

View Table

TABLE 3

Red Flags in Evaluating for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Anemia

Family history of colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease

Fever

Heme-positive stools

New or recent onset in patient older than 50 years

Nocturnal symptoms

Palpable abdominal or rectal mass

Persistent diarrhea or severe constipation

Recent antibiotic use

Rectal bleeding

Weight loss


Information from references 6 and 13.

TABLE 4

Medications Used in the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Predominant symptom Medications Dosage AFP level of evidence Comment

Diarrhea

Loperamide (Imodium)

2 to 4 mg up to four times a day

Level A

Use as needed or prophylactically in times of anticipated stress

Cholestyramine (Questran)

4 g one to six times a day

Level C

Second-line agent

Alosetron (Lotronex)

1 mg per day titrated to two times a day if tolerated

Level A

Restricted use in female patients only

Constipation

Fiber

Start low and titrate up to 20 to 30 g a day

Level A

May worsen bloating

Osmotic laxative

Magnesium citrate, lactulose, or polyethylene glycol dosed as appropriate

Level C

Abdominal pain

Antispasmodics and anticholinergics (e.g., dicyclomine [Bentyl], hyoscyamine [Levsin])

Dicyclomine, 10 to 20 mg, two to four times a day

Level B

Used as needed only

Tricyclic antidepressant (e.g., amitriptyline [Elavil])

Start amitriptyline, 10 to 25 mg at bedtime or twice daily, or desipramine (Norpramin), 50 mg three times a day

Level A

Needs to be given daily, not as needed, therefore generally reserved for patients with more severe pain

Tegaserod (Zelnorm)

FDA approved for short-term treatment of women

Gas or bloating

Simethicone (Mylanta)

40 to 125 mg up to four times a day as needed

Anecdotal evidence only

Comorbid depression or anxiety

Antidepressants or anxiolytics as indicated

Dose as appropriate

Treating depression has been shown to improve bowel symptoms15


FDA = U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

TABLE 4   Medications Used in the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

View Table

TABLE 4

Medications Used in the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Predominant symptom Medications Dosage AFP level of evidence Comment

Diarrhea

Loperamide (Imodium)

2 to 4 mg up to four times a day

Level A

Use as needed or prophylactically in times of anticipated stress

Cholestyramine (Questran)

4 g one to six times a day

Level C

Second-line agent

Alosetron (Lotronex)

1 mg per day titrated to two times a day if tolerated

Level A

Restricted use in female patients only

Constipation

Fiber

Start low and titrate up to 20 to 30 g a day

Level A

May worsen bloating

Osmotic laxative

Magnesium citrate, lactulose, or polyethylene glycol dosed as appropriate

Level C

Abdominal pain

Antispasmodics and anticholinergics (e.g., dicyclomine [Bentyl], hyoscyamine [Levsin])

Dicyclomine, 10 to 20 mg, two to four times a day

Level B

Used as needed only

Tricyclic antidepressant (e.g., amitriptyline [Elavil])

Start amitriptyline, 10 to 25 mg at bedtime or twice daily, or desipramine (Norpramin), 50 mg three times a day

Level A

Needs to be given daily, not as needed, therefore generally reserved for patients with more severe pain

Tegaserod (Zelnorm)

FDA approved for short-term treatment of women

Gas or bloating

Simethicone (Mylanta)

40 to 125 mg up to four times a day as needed

Anecdotal evidence only

Comorbid depression or anxiety

Antidepressants or anxiolytics as indicated

Dose as appropriate

Treating depression has been shown to improve bowel symptoms15


FDA = U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Management

EFFECTIVE THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP

A strong physician-patient relationship is paramount in an effective management strategy for IBS. A good physician-patient relationship has also been shown to reduce repetitive office visits.16 The patient may need to be reassured repeatedly of the positive diagnosis, and specific patient concerns and fears will need to be addressed. The patient needs to be confidently told that there is no serious disease and there is no increased risk of complications (such as cancer) from IBS. A previous article17 in American Family Physician outlines specific points in the development of an effective therapeutic relationship with patients who have IBS.

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

While no specific dietary advice has been shown in trials to be efficacious, many authors advocate having patients limit alcohol, caffeine, sorbitol, and fat intake.6 Lactose should be eliminated only in those with proven lactase deficiency. If a patient believes a particular dietary substance is exacerbating the symptoms, then a trial of eliminating that substance is warranted. However, in general, there is no association between IBS and food intolerance.

PAIN-PREDOMINANT IBS

Jailwala and colleagues18 recently published a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of pharmacotherapy for IBS, in which 28 high-quality trials reporting outcomes of global improvement or IBS-specific symptom improvement were identified. [Evidence level A, systematic review of RCTs] Trials using bulking agents (various fiber products), smooth-muscle relaxants (e.g., cimetropium [not marketing a brand name yet]), pro-kinetic agents (e.g., cisapride [Propulsid]), loperamide (Imodium), and psychotropic agents (e.g., amitriptyline [Elavil]) were included. From this analysis, the authors concluded that smooth-muscle relaxants are beneficial for the abdominal pain of IBS. However, none of the smooth-muscle relaxants used in the high-quality trials are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the United States.

Although fiber is predominantly useful for the constipation of IBS, it may also reduce pain in IBS by reducing intracolonic pressure, though this effect has not been shown to be true in high-quality patient-oriented trials.19 The efficacy of dietary fiber therapy can be difficult to assess because the placebo response in IBS trials has been as high as 71 percent.20 [Evidence level A, RCT] Fiber should be started gradually in low doses to avoid bloating.

If dietary advice and fiber supplementation do not adequately relieve abdominal pain, a short-term trial of an antispasmodic agent such as dicyclomine (Bentyl)18 or hyoscyamine (Levsin) may be tried.18 If it is effective, it can then be used as needed. Chronic use of such a drug may reduce its efficacy.19 Narcotics should be avoided.

Psychotropic agents also may benefit patients with IBS who have abdominal pain. Seven trials of psychotropic agents were included in Jail-wala's systematic review.18 All seven trials showed these agents to be efficacious, but only one of these trials was considered high-quality. This trial, involving only 14 patients, showed that the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline yielded global improvement in patients with IBS.21 [Evidence level A, RCT] The use of such tricyclic antidepressants for pain relief in IBS may be effective, but their anticholinergic side effects can be troublesome. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have not proved to be effective agents for IBS.15

Tegaserod (Zelnorm), a 5-HT4 agonist (of the aminoguanide indole class) that has visceral antinociceptive effects, is a newer agent that may prove useful in pain-predominant IBS. It has been approved by the FDA for short-term treatment of women with IBS.15,22 Pain in IBS may also be mediated by opioid receptors such as mu, kappa, and delta. Several drugs that act at these receptors are under investigation.

Psychologic treatments also may be of benefit in the management of IBS, particularly in those who have associated psychiatric diagnoses or difficulty coping.23 Psychologic treatments include cognitive-behavior therapy (e.g., stress management), dynamic psychotherapy, and hypnosis. A systematic review24 of psychologic treatments for IBS found eight studies in which psychologic treatment was superior to control therapy. However, the same review24 also found five studies that showed no difference. In some of the clinical trials24 of psychologic treatments in IBS, psychologic improvement occurred without improvement in GI symptoms.24

A recent study comparing the addition of multicomponent behavior therapy with medical treatment alone showed that the combination was significantly better at reducing IBS symptoms based on data recorded in daily symptom diaries.25  [Evidence level B, uncontrolled, comparative study] The combination group also had improved overall well-being. A partial description of the components of the multicomponent behavior therapy treatment is outlined in Table 5.25 While these components or a method of incorporating them may not be completely available to the primary care physician, the techniques employed may help the patient manage this illness.

TABLE 5

Selected Steps of Multicomponent Behavior Therapy for IBS

Step 1. Provide information about IBS and normal GI functioning. Also discuss the role of stress.

Step 2. Analyze the patient's illness in terms of symptoms, circumstances of first onset, symptom triggers, contributing factors, and consequences.

Step 3. Teach relaxation techniques.

Step 4. Teach patients to identify irrational thoughts regarding their GI problems.

Step 5. Discuss ways people cope with the problems that chronic illness brings to daily life.

Step 6. Discuss ways to manage difficulties the individual may have in social situations caused by GI problems.


IBS = irritable bowel syndrome; GI = gastrointestinal.

note:For a full description of the formal techniques used, please see the original article.

Adapted with permission from Heymann-Monnikes I, Arnold R, Florin I, Herda C, Melfsen S, Monnikes H. The combination of medical treatment plus multicomponent behavioral therapy is superior to medical treatment alone in the therapy of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 2000;95:981–94.

TABLE 5   Selected Steps of Multicomponent Behavior Therapy for IBS

View Table

TABLE 5

Selected Steps of Multicomponent Behavior Therapy for IBS

Step 1. Provide information about IBS and normal GI functioning. Also discuss the role of stress.

Step 2. Analyze the patient's illness in terms of symptoms, circumstances of first onset, symptom triggers, contributing factors, and consequences.

Step 3. Teach relaxation techniques.

Step 4. Teach patients to identify irrational thoughts regarding their GI problems.

Step 5. Discuss ways people cope with the problems that chronic illness brings to daily life.

Step 6. Discuss ways to manage difficulties the individual may have in social situations caused by GI problems.


IBS = irritable bowel syndrome; GI = gastrointestinal.

note:For a full description of the formal techniques used, please see the original article.

Adapted with permission from Heymann-Monnikes I, Arnold R, Florin I, Herda C, Melfsen S, Monnikes H. The combination of medical treatment plus multicomponent behavioral therapy is superior to medical treatment alone in the therapy of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol 2000;95:981–94.

DIARRHEA-PREDOMINANT IBS

For diarrhea-predominant IBS, 2 to 4 mg of loperamide up to four times a day can be effective.18 [Evidence level A, systematic review of RCTs] Loperamide slows intestinal transit, increases intestinal water absorption, and increases resting anal sphincter tone. These effects reduce the diarrhea and the sense of urgency and fecal soiling that accompany it. Loperamide is preferred to other opioid agents because it does not cross the blood-brain barrier. It can be used as needed or prophylactically during times of increased stress that may provoke symptoms (e.g., taking a test, public speaking, attending a social function, exercising).

In some patients with severe diarrhea, bile acids may lead to decreased reuptake of water from the colon.15 As such, the bile acid sequestrant, cholestyramine (Questran), may be a useful second-line agent for diarrhea-predominant IBS.26 [Evidence level C, consensus opinion] In patients in whom a preceding or lingering infection is thought to be partly responsible for diarrhea-predominant symptoms, a course of empiric antibiotics or anti-giardial therapy may be warranted.27 A short course of antibiotics may be warranted in patients with refractory diarrhea even in the absence of a preceding infection because eradication of bacterial overgrowth may decrease the diarrhea.15,28 [Evidence level B, uncontrolled clinical study]

Alosetron (Lotronex), a 5-HT3 antagonist, was shown to improve pain and quality of life in diarrhea-predominant IBS in female patients.29,30 [Reference 29, Evidence level A, RCT] This agent was withdrawn from the market in November 2000 because of serious post-marketing events including severe constipation, ischemic colitis, and death. Recently, The FDA approved the reintroduction of alos-etron for female patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS in whom conventional treatments have failed. Its use is under restricted conditions that include completion of a signed patient-physician agreement and prescription only by physicians enrolled in the Prescribing Program for Lotronex. More details can be found on the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov/cder.

Ondansetron (Zofran) is another 5-HT3 antagonist that currently is used predominantly for management of severe nausea and vomiting. It also has been studied for use in IBS, particularly for diarrhea-predominant IBS. In a small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,31 patients with IBS had firmer stools and decreased rectal pain thresholds.

CONSTIPATION-PREDOMINANT IBS

For constipation, fiber supplementation is often recommended. In dosages of 12 to 30 g per day, fiber products have been shown to accelerate colonic transit time and help relieve constipation.32 The fermentation of fiber by intestinal bacteria will produce bowel gas that may lead to distension. Fiber should be started at a low dose and titrated gradually to avoid exacerbating the pain or cramps of IBS.

The use of the prokinetic agent cisapride was not supported in a recent systematic review of the literature.18 [Evidence level A, systematic review of RCTs] Other options for constipation-predominant IBS include the osmotic laxatives such as lactulose, milk of magnesia, or polyethylene glycol solution. Newer agents are being studied. Loxiglumide (not marketing a brand name yet), a cholecys-tokinin-A receptor antagonist that has been studied for use in acute pancreatitis, may be a useful agent for constipation because of its effect of accelerating colonic transit.22 Tega-serod, in addition to its antinociceptive effects, also accelerates intestinal transit and appears promising for the management of constipation-predominant IBS.15

The Authors

ANTHONY J. VIERA, LCDR, MC, USNR, is a staff family physician at Naval Hospital Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla. He received his medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and completed his residency at Naval Hospital Jacksonville.

STEVE HOAG, LT, MC, USN, is currently a staff family physician at Naval Hospital Guam. He received his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine in Bethesda, Md., and completed his residency at Naval Hospital Jacksonville.

JOSEPH SHAUGHNESSY, CDR, MC, USN, is a staff family physician at Naval Hospital Jacksonville. He received his medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine, and completed his residency at Naval Hospital Jacksonville.

Address correspondence to Anthony J. Viera, LCDR, MC, USNR, 1505 Maple Leaf Ln., Orange Park, FL 32003 (e-mail: anthonyjviera@yahoo.com). Reprints are not available from the authors.

The authors indicate that they do not have any conflicts of interest. Sources of funding: none reported.

The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the U.S. Navy Medical Department or the U.S. Naval Service at large.

REFERENCES

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2. Jones R, Lydeard S. Irritable bowel syndrome in the general population. BMJ. 1992;304:87–90.

3. Kay L, Jorgensen T, Jensen KH. The epidemiology of irritable bowel syndrome in a random population: prevalence, incidence, natural history and risk factors. J Intern Med. 1994;236:23–30.

4. Maxwell PR, Mendall MA, Kumar D. Irritable bowel syndrome. Lancet. 1997;350:1691–5.

5. Hyams JS, Burke G, Davis PM, Rzepski B, Andrulonis PA. Abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome in adolescents: a community-based study. J Pediatr. 1996;129:220–6.

6. Paterson WG, Thompson WG, Vanner SJ, Faloon TR, Rosser WW, Birtwhistle RW, et al. Recommendations for the management of irritable bowel syndrome in family practice. CMAJ. 1999;161:154–60.

7. Mayer EA. Emerging disease model for functional gastrointestinal disorders. Am J Med. 1999;107:12S–19S.

8. Drossman DA, Sandler RS, McKee DC, Lovitz AJ. Bowel patterns among subjects not seeking health care. Use of a questionnaire to identify a population with bowel dysfunction. Gastroenterology. 1982;83:529–34.

9. Drossman DA. Do psychosocial factors define symptom severity and patient status in irritable bowel syndrome?. Am J Med. 1999;107:41S–50S.

10. Drossman DA. Irritable bowel syndrome and sexual/physical abuse history. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1997;9:327–30.

11. Blanchard EB, Scharff L, Schwarz SP, Suls JM, Barlow DH. The role of anxiety and depression in the irritable bowel syndrome. Behav Res Ther. 1990;28:401–5.

12. Vanner SJ, Depew WT, Paterson WG, DaCosta LR, Groll AG, Simon JB, et al. Predictive value of the Rome criteria for diagnosing the irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 1999;94:2912–7.

13. Drossman DA, Corazziari E, Talley NJ, Thompson WG, Whitehead WE. Rome II: the functional gastrointestinal disorders: diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment: a multinational consensus. Gut. 1999;45suppl 21–81.

14. Hammer J, Talley NJ. Diagnostic criteria for the irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Med. 1999;107:5S–11S.

15. Horwitz BJ, Fisher RS. The irritable bowel syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2001;344:1846–50.

16. Owens DM, Nelson DK, Talley NJ. The irritable bowel syndrome: long-term prognosis and the physician-patient interaction. Ann Intern Med. 1995;122:107–12.

17. Dalton CB, Drossman DA. Diagnosis and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 1997;55:875–80,883–5.

18. Jailwala J, Imperiale TF, Kroenke K. Pharmacologic treatment of the irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review of randomized, controlled trials. Ann Intern Med. 2000;133:136–47.

19. Camilleri M. Therapeutic approach to the patient with irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Med. 1999;107:27S–32S.

20. Lucey MR, Clark ML, Lowndes J, Dawson AM. Is bran efficacious in irritable bowel syndrome? A double blind placebo controlled crossover study. Gut. 1987;28:221–5.

21. Steinhart MJ, Wong PY, Zarr ML. Therapeutic usefulness of amitriptyline in spastic colon syndrome. Int J Psychiatry Med. 1981;11:45–57.

22. Rothstein RD. Irritable bowel syndrome. Med Clin North Am. 2000;84:1247–57.

23. Guthrie E, Creed F, Dawson D, Tomenson B. A randomized controlled trial of psychotherapy in patients with refractory irritable bowel syndrome. Br J Psychiatry. 1993;163:315–21.

24. Talley NJ, Owen BK, Boyce P, Paterson K. Psychological treatments for irritable bowel syndrome: a critique of controlled treatment trials. Am J Gastroenterol. 1996;91:277–83.

25. Heymann-Monnikes I, Arnold R, Florin I, Herda C, Melfsen S, Monnikes H. The combination of medical treatment plus multicomponent behavioral therapy is superior to medical treatment alone in the therapy of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95:981–94.

26. American Gastroenterological Association. Medical position statement: irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology. 1997;112:2118–9.

27. Lee SD, Surawicz CM. Infectious causes of chronic diarrhea. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2001;30:679–92.

28. Pimentel M, Chow EJ, Lin HC. Eradication of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95:3503–6.

29. Camilleri M, Chey WY, Mayer EA, Northcutt AR, Heath A, Dukes GE, et al. A randomized controlled clinical trial of the serotonin type 3 receptor antagonist alosetron in women with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161:1733–40.

30. Watson ME, Lacey L, Kong S, Northcutt AR, McSorley D, Hahn B, et al. Alosetron improves quality of life in women with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001;96:455–9.

31. Goldberg PA, Kamm MA, Setti-Carraro P, van der Sijp JR, Roth C. Modification of visceral sensitivity and pain in irritable bowel syndrome by 5-HT3 antagonism (ondansetron). Digestion. 1996;57:478–83.

32. Cann PA, Read NW, Holdsworth CD. What is the benefit of coarse wheat bran in patients with irritable bowel syndrome?. Gut. 1984;25:168–73.

Members of various family practice departments develop articles for “Practical Therapeutics.” This article is one in a series coordinated by the Department of Family Medicine at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida. Guest editor of the series is Anthony J. Viera, LCDR, MC, USNR.


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