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Rifaximin Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

Treatment in patients without constipation provides relief of bloating, other symptoms

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The use of rifaximin for the treatment of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) without constipation appears to improve relief of IBS symptoms, according to research published in the Jan. 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the TARGET 1 and TARGET 2 studies, Mark Pimentel, M.D., of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues randomized patients with IBS without constipation to rifaximin (550 mg) or placebo, three times daily for two weeks. Patients were followed for an additional 10 weeks.

During the first four weeks after treatment, the investigators found that significantly more patients in the rifaximin group had adequate relief of global IBS symptoms compared to those in the placebo group (40.7 versus 31.7 percent in TARGET 1 and 2 combined). The investigators also found that more patients in the rifaximin group had adequate relief of bloating compared to those in the placebo group (40.2 versus 30.3 percent). Significantly more patients who received rifaximin had a response to treatment as assessed by daily ratings of IBS symptoms, bloating, abdominal pain, and stool consistency. Adverse events were similar in the groups.

"Among patients who had IBS without constipation, treatment with rifaximin for two weeks provided significant relief of IBS symptoms, bloating, abdominal pain, and loose or watery stools," the authors write.

The study was funded by Salix Pharmaceuticals; several authors disclosed financial relationships with Salix and other pharmaceutical companies and/or commercial organizations.

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