AGA issues clinical guidelines outlining drug treatment plans for patients with irritable bowel syndrome

American Gastroenterological Association

Bethesda, MD (June 21, 2022) — New treatment guidelines released today in Gastroenterology outline a personalized approach for treating patients with approved drug treatments for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation (IBS-C) or IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D). IBS is one of the most common disorders of both intestines, affecting up to 35 million Americans.

The guidelines outline, for the first time, when to use newly introduced IBS drugs, when to rely on old drugs approved by the FDA and when to use over-the-counter drugs. With more treatments available, physicians can tailor a personalized approach based on the symptoms a patient with IBS is experiencing.

“We have so many treatment options, we can now take a targeted treatment approach to patient symptoms,” says author Shahnaz Sultan, MD, AGAF. “It’s very important for patients to be open about their IBS symptoms and just as important for gastroenterologists to set realistic expectations for this chronic disease to ensure the best quality of life for their IBS patients.”

Advice for patients with IBS: prioritize lifestyle modifications (including exercise, sleep, stress reduction) and dietary changes (such as increasing fiber or the low-FODMAP diet) prior to seeking an IBS specialist, such as a gastroenterologist, for advanced treatment options. When you do speak to a provider, be clear on your symptoms to help your doctor determine the medication that is right for you.

Read the AGA Clinical Guidelines on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea (IBS-D) to review both sets of recommendations that detail specific patient scenarios and best treatment options.

About IBS

IBS symptoms can include stomach pain, diarrhea, stomach bloating, constipation and cramping. Though non-life threatening, IBS is associated with significant decrease in quality of life, often leaving patients self-conscious to participate in everyday activities. IBS affects individuals regardless of race, age or sex, but it is most common in women and younger individuals. Learn more in the AGA GI Patient Center.


IBS-C Guideline

IBS-D Guideline

Spotlight (one-page infographic)

Clinical Decision Support Tool

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.