New Class of Drugs to Treat IBS

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A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recommended on November 16,1999 the unanimous approval of a new type of drug to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

A frequent symptom for those suffering from Fibromyalgia, IBS is characterized by symptoms of chronic abdominal pain and discomfort and irregular bowel movements with alternate bouts of constipation and/or diarrhea. The condition may affect as many as 52 million adults in the U.S. alone, 75 percent of whom are women.

The new drug up for approval is called Lotronex and functions by reducing contractions in the intestine. This differs from the current treatment with drugs like Bentyl, Levsin, Librax and Donnatel, that work to reduce muscle spasms.

The next step is FDA approval. In most cases, the FDA follows the recommendations of its advisory committees within 2-3 months.

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