IBS-C is a type of IBS characterized by symptoms of abdominal pain/discomfort and bloating in conjunction with constipation. There is no cure, but symptoms can be managed and reduced significantly with treatment or diet changes. A fairly new FDA-approved medication called IBSRELA has shown great promise in treating IBS-C symptoms in adults, which is experienced by more than 11 million people in the United States. While this medication is still very novel, we are excited to explore if IBSRELA will be useful to our patient population.


How does IBSRELA work?

When IBSRELA is ingested, it inhibits the absorption of sodium back into the bloodstream from the small intestine and colon. This means more water will stay in the intestines which can trigger more frequent bowel movements, as well as result in a softer stool consistency. IBSRELA also decreases abdominal pain/discomfort by reducing the amount of gasses and liquids passing through the membrane of the intestines. In addition, it reduces the pain sensitivity of the inner organs, further reducing abdominal pain/discomfort.


What does the research say?

In a randomized double-blind study, IBSRELA was able to decrease abdominal pain by at least 54% in IBSRELA-treated patients. In addition, patients were able to have about 3.3 spontaneous bowel movements per week on average on this medication. These improvements were maintained throughout the 26 weeks of the study. About 2% of the 293 patients on IBSRELA developed severe diarrhea and discontinued treatment due to dehydration. Other adverse reactions experienced by less than 1% of patients included abdominal distension, flatulence, and dizziness.


Warning – Contraindications

IBSRELA should not be given to patients under the age of 6 due to serious risk of dehydration. It should also not be given to patients that are suspected to have a gastrointestinal blockage.



Author Klaire Hua Patient Care Coordinator

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