A cheap treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A cheap and widely available prescription drug can improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in patients seen in GP surgeries, new research presented at UEG Week 2023 has found. Amitriptyline, which is commonly used at low doses for a range of health concerns, has been found to improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms too, according to the results of the ATLANTIS trial
Led by researchers at the Universities of Leeds, Southampton, and Bristol, the study was conducted in primary care. Some 463 people with IBS took part from three regions across the UK - West Yorkshire, Wessex, and West of England. They were recruited from 55 general practices.
Participants were put at random into two groups – those receiving amitriptyline and those receiving a placebo. Participants controlled how many tablets of the trial medication they took, receiving support via the patient dose adjustment document that was developed with patient representatives, especially for this trial. This enabled participants to increase or decrease the number of tablets based on their IBS symptoms and any side effects experienced.
Participants taking amitriptyline reported a bigger improvement in their symptom scores after six months compared with those taking a placebo. Those taking amitriptyline were almost twice as likely as those taking a placebo to report an overall improvement in IBS symptoms, with amitriptyline performing better across a wide range of IBS symptom measures.
Reference: Amitriptyline at Low-Dose and Titrated for Irritable Bowel Syndrome as Second-Line Treatment in primary care (ATLANTIS): a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, phase 3 trial, The Lancet
B.Sc Life Sciences, M.Sc Biotechnology, B.Ed