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AGA issues clinical guidelines outlining drug treatment plans for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Bethesda, MD (June 21, 2022) — New treatment guidelines released today in Gastroenterology outline a personalized approach for treating patients with approved drug treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation (IBS-C) or IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D). IBS is one of the most common disorders of both intestines, affecting up to 35 million Americans.

The guidelines outline, for the first time, when to use newly introduced IBS drugs, when to rely on old drugs approved by the FDA and when to use over-the-counter drugs. With more treatments available, physicians can tailor a personalized approach based on the symptoms a patient with IBS is experiencing.

“We have so many treatment options, we can now take a targeted treatment approach to patient symptoms,” says author Shahnaz Sultan, MD, AGAF. “It’s very important for patients to be open about their IBS symptoms and just as important for gastroenterologists to set realistic expectations for this chronic disease to ensure the best quality of life for their IBS patients.”

Advice for patients with IBS: prioritize lifestyle modifications (including exercise, sleep, stress reduction) and dietary changes (such as increasing fiber or the low-FODMAP diet) prior to seeking an IBS specialist, such as a gastroenterologist, for advanced treatment options. When you do speak to a provider, be clear on your symptoms to help your doctor determine the medication that is right for you. 

Read the AGA Clinical Guidelines on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D) to review both sets of recommendations that detail specific patient scenarios and best treatment options.

About IBS

IBS symptoms can include stomach pain, diarrhea, stomach bloating, constipation and cramping. Though non-life threatening, IBS is associated with significant decrease in quality of life, often leaving patients self-conscious to participate in everyday activities. IBS affects individuals regardless of race, age or sex, but it is most common in women and younger individuals. Learn more in the AGA GI Patient Center.

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Media contact: Courtney Reed, media@gastro.org, 301-272-0025

About the AGA Institute

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. www.gastro.org.

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About Gastroenterology

Gastroenterology is the most prominent journal in the field of gastrointestinal disease. As the official journal of the AGA InstituteGastroenterology delivers up-to-date and authoritative coverage of both basic and clinical gastroenterology. Regular features include articles by leading authorities and reports on the latest treatments for diseases. Original research is organized by clinical and basic-translational content, as well as by alimentary tract, liver, pancreas, and biliary content.

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