Rifaximin may help ease irritable bowel syndrome symptoms

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London, Jan 6 (ANI): Scientists have found that two weeks of treatment with rifaximin (brand name: Xifaxan) could help ease irritable bowel syndrome symptoms including bloating, abdominal pain and loose or watery stools.

The two studies, known as TARGET 1 and TARGET 2, were conducted in parallel from June 2008 through June 2009 in part at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In addition, the studies discovered that the benefits of treatment with rifaximin persisted for 10 weeks after patients stopped taking the broad-spectrum antibiotic, said Yehuda Ringel, a co-author of the studies.

In the studies, a total of 1,260 patients who had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) without constipation were enrolled at one of 179 study sites in the U.S. and Canada.

All were randomized to receive the study drug in 550 milligram doses, three times daily for two weeks, or placebo. All were then followed for an additional 10 weeks.

During the first four weeks after treatment, 40.7 percent of the patients in the rifaximin group reported adequate relief of global IBS symptoms, compared to 31.7 percent in the placebo group.

Similarly, 40.2 percent in the rifaximin group had adequate relief of bloating, compared to 30.3 percent on placebo. Also, significantly more patients taking the study drug reported adequate reductions of abdominal pain and loose or watery stools.

The researches were published in the Jan. 6, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. (ANI)

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