Are antidepressants useful for IBS?


Topic: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), June 2000

Dr. Lee:
A viewer was prescribed Effexor 75 mg with improvement in her abdominal pains and cramps. Are doctors now treating IBS patients with antidepressants such as effexor?

Dr. Marks:
Effexor is an anti-depressant, and it is used to treat depression. Anti-depressants are one of the few effective treatments for IBS. They are used generally at low doses, doses that have little or no anti-depressant effects. They are believed to work because they change the signals traveling through the nerves from the bowel to the brain or, perhaps, the processing of the signals by the brain. Although many anti-depressants have been used for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome studies have been limited to only a few, specifically, trazodone, imipramine and desipramine.

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