A review of irritable bowel syndrome and an update on therapeutic approaches.Expert Opin Pharmacother 2008; 9(7):1129-43EO
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that is associated with a significant impact on both affected individuals and society. While the pathophysiology of irritable bowel syndrome remains unknown, knowledge regarding the normal and abnormal functions of the gut and its complex interactions with the body's nervous systems continue to shed light on the multifactiorial origins of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.
This article provides an overview of the current knowledge on the therapeutic approaches to irritable bowel syndrome.
A search of the online bibliographic databases MEDLINE and EMBASE was performed in order to identify all relevant articles published between 1980 and 2008. The search was enhanced with the use of a medical librarian. Bibliographies from potentially relevant articles were manually searched.
The therapeutic options for irritable bowel syndrome are rapidly evolving beyond traditional symptom-based therapies, such as fiber, antispasmodics, antidiarrheals and laxatives and are moving towards agents with organ-specific receptor selectivity directed, in many cases, at specific gastrointestinal functions.