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Pharmaceutical PR: Paxil Helpful for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Paxil Helpful for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fri May 28, 2004 03:40 PM ET
Source: Reuters.com

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A popular antidepressant, Paxil, significantly improves the overall well-being of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), researchers report.

Paxil is also known as Seroxat, and technically as paroxetine. In a statement, Dr. George Arnold of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said that the findings highlight "the benefits of this drug as a potential new and improved treatment for IBS."

Arnold and colleagues report the results of their study of patients who had IBS, but were otherwise healthy, in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Initially, 98 patients were on a low or medium fiber diet for their condition and were switched to a high fiber diet for 7 weeks. In total, 25 patients reported a good response and stayed on this regimen.

The other 73 patients and another 12 who had already been on a high fiber diet were randomly assigned to take paroxetine or an inactive placebo daily while they continued with their high fiber diet.

At the end of 12 weeks, overall well-being increased in 63.3 percent of the paroxetine patients versus 26.3 percent of the placebo patients. The improvements were seen in non-depressed as well as depressed patients.

The paroxetine patients also reduced their avoidance of food, and their functioning at work was "marginally" better. However, there were no differences between groups in symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating.

Given these findings, the researchers call for larger studies and evaluation of other similar antidepressants "to see whether they are as effective for the treatment of IBS as paroxetine appears to be."

SOURCE: American Journal of Gastroenterology, May 2004.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.


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