A pilot study by researchers at Mayo Clinic has found that patients suffering from pain related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may benefit from taking pregabalin, a neuro-pain inhibitor commonly used to treat fibromyalgia. The results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Las Vegas.
"There currently are limited treatment options available to fight the abdominal pain associated with IBS," says Yuri Saito Loftus, M.D., the study's author. "We theorized that pregabalin could potentially be helpful."
Dr. Saito-Loftus and her colleagues followed 85 patients with IBS who reported high levels of abdominal pain. These patients ranged in age from 18 to 70 years. The placebo-controlled study lasted 12 weeks. Patients who received pregabalin reported significant improvement in pain management, compared to those who received a placebo. Preliminary data also showed improvement in other IBS symptoms, including bloating and diarrhea.
Dr. Saito Loftus cautions that, because the study is small, the results are not definitive. "Our study does provide preliminary evidence that pregabalin may be an additional treatment option for patients with IBS who have failed other treatment options, but more research is needed," Dr. Saito Loftus says.