Drug for depression helps irritable bowel syndrome, according to Pittsburgh study

May 07, 2004

PITTSBURGH, May 7 - Paroxetine, a drug commonly used to treat depression, can improve symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study in the May issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

In a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that the drug relieved some symptoms of IBS and improved the well-being of people with IBS.

"This study points out the benefits of this drug as a potential new and improved treatment for IBS, a disease that is very difficult for physicians to manage," said George Arnold, M.D., F.A.C.P., clinical professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and principal investigator in the study.

IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects 14-24 percent of women and 5-19 percent of men in western populations and is characterized by abdominal pain, altered bowel habits and abdominal bloating. It generally has been treated with high-fiber diet, drugs or both.

The study found that the percentage of participants experiencing an improvement in overall well-being was significantly greater (63.3 percent) in the paroxetine group than the placebo group (26.3 percent). The percentage of participants experiencing an improvement in bowel movements was significantly greater in the paroxetine recipients (58.6 percent) than the placebo recipients (32.4 percent). There was a significant improvement in food avoidance and work function for those on paroxetine. There was no significant improvement in abdominal pain or bloating between the paroxetine and placebo groups.

"This study showed that in absence of depression, paroxetine helped irritable bowel syndrome," said Dr. Arnold. "This is a medicine that has been in use for some years and is safe with no long term side effects, which is a problem with current medications for IBS."

The effectiveness of paroxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), has been reported in case reports but not in controlled studies. SSRIs are considered first line treatments in psychiatric illnesses such as major depression and generalized anxiety disorder, which are found in 50 to 90 percent of patients with IBS, according to Dr. Arnold, who is a gastroenterologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) Shadyside Hospital.

The two-part clinical study enrolled a total of 110 participants with IBS. Group one consisted of 98 participants who at enrollment were consuming a low-fiber or average-fiber diet, who were then put on a high-fiber diet. In this group, 26 percent reported an overall improvement in well-being. Abdominal pain and bloating decreased in 22 percent and 26 percent of participants respectively.

Group two consisted of 12 participants who at enrollment were already consuming a high-fiber diet plus the 69 participants from group one who reported an inadequate response to the high-fiber diet. Group two participants continued to consume their high-fiber diet throughout the study and were randomized to receive a 12-week course of either paroxetine or a placebo. All participants began with a dosage of paroxetine of 10 mg/day. Participants who experienced improvement in their condition were instructed to continue at the same dosage while those who experienced no improvements were instructed to increase their dosage.

Because SSRIs have a well-recognized effect on depression, the researchers also performed a separate analysis of participants and showed that the improvement in well-being held true for non-depressed patients taking paroxetine.

Also participating in the study were Gary Tabas, M.D., Mary Beaves, R.N., Jiping Wang, M.D., Paul Friday, Ph.D. and Houssam Mardini, M.D.
-end-
The study was funded by the Competitive Research Fund of the Shadyside Hospital Foundation of Pittsburgh.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT:


Jocelyn Uhl
PHONE: 412-647-3555
FAX: 412-624-3184
E-MAIL:
UhlJH@upmc.edu

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.