Researchers at University of Michigan Health System have revealed that new drug Lubiprostone has the potential to treat irritable bowel syndrome symptoms in women.
Lubiprostone, known by the brand name AMITIZA(r), has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in women with IBS plus constipation.
The analysis led by U-M gastroenterologist Dr. William D. Chey demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the drug for treatment of IBS-C.
"We found that individuals who were treated with AMITIZA were nearly twice as likely to experience improvement in their IBS symptoms compared to individuals who were treated with placebo," said Chey, director of the Gastrointestinal Physiology Laboratory and professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.
"Right now, it is the only FDA-approved treatment available that addresses the entire clinical spectrum of symptoms related to IBS-C," he added.
IBS is often accompanied by the symptoms such as bloating, cramping, abdominal pain and constipation.
Chey said that fewer than half of patients with IBS seek medical treatment. Most over-the-counter medicines commonly used to treat symptoms, fibre, laxatives and stool stimulants, don't address the bloating and pain associated with IBS.
Most patients with IBS tend to fall into two categories IBS-C or IBS with diarrhoea. IBS-C is more common among older adults, while IBS-D tends to be seen more in younger patients.
"Although AMITIZA is only approved for use in women with IBS-C, it doesn't mean that the drug doesn't work for men," said Chey.
Unfortunately, we just haven't had enough men represented in these studies to make a firm decision on treatment using this drug," he added.
The researchers conducted two phase III, multi-centre trials involving 1,154 participants where they compared lubiprostone versus a placebo during the course of 12 weeks.
The results showed that after one week, 20 percent of the lubiprostone participants reported moderate to significant relief of symptoms.
By week four, 32 percent said they experienced relief of global IBS-C symptoms - abdominal pain, bloating, constipation severity and straining during bowel movements. Lubiprostone also improved stool consistency.
The study results were presented on May 18 and May 19 at Digestive Diseases Week in San Diego.