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Possible relief for irritable bowel

Local-acting antibiotic tops placebo in two trials

5:11pm, January 5, 2011

An antibiotic typically used to combat traveler’s diarrhea might benefit some people with irritable bowel syndrome, a vexing condition that has few good treatment options, researchers report in the Jan. 6 New England Journal of Medicine.

There is no antibiotic currently approved for use against IBS, notes gastroenterologist Jan Tack of the University of Leuven in Belgium, writing in the same NEJM issue. Part of the reason stems from the mystery of IBS itself. Patients clearly have a problem with food movement in the gut — either too rapid (diarrhea) or too slow (constipation) — and experience pain and cramping.

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