Irritable bowel syndrome: new and emerging treatments

Halland M1, Saito YA2. BMJ. 2015 Jun 18;350:h1622. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h1622.
Author information

1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. 2Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA saito.yuri@mayo.edu.


Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in developed nations. It is characterized by abdominal pain, altered bowel habits, and bloating. Several non-pharmacological and pharmacological agents, which target the peripheral gastrointestinal system and central nervous system, are used to treat the syndrome. The individual and societal impact of investigating and managing the syndrome is substantial, and despite newer treatments, many patients have unmet needs. Intense research at many international sites has improved the understanding of pathophysiology of the syndrome, but developing treatments that are effective, safe, and that have tolerable side effects remains a challenge. This review briefly summarizes the currently available treatments for irritable bowel syndrome then focuses on newer non-pharmacological and pharmacological therapies and recent evidence for older treatments. Recent guidelines on the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome are also discussed.

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