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IBS Medications

There are several medications that can help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as antispasmodics, laxatives, and antidiarrheal medicines. However, the right medicine will vary for each person, depending on the type and severity of IBS symptoms. Other possible medicines can include natural remedies, such as probiotics and peppermint oil.

An Overview of Medicines for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Healthcare providers may choose to prescribe medications to help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some different types of IBS medications include:
 
  • Antispasmodics
  • Laxatives
  • Antidiarrheal medicines
  • Antidepressants
  • Antianxiety medications
  • Drugs specifically approved to treat IBS.
     
The specific medicines recommended will depend on the person's symptoms. Medicines will be prescribed in addition to lifestyle changes (see Living With Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
 

IBS Medicines Explained

The following sections explain in detail the various medications a healthcare provider may recommend when treating IBS symptoms.
 
Antispasmodics
Antispasmodic medications are used to decrease the abdominal (stomach) pain and cramping in your intestines. They are the most frequently prescribed medications for IBS. Examples include:
 
  • Clidinium and chlordiazepoxide (Librax®), which includes both an antispasmodic and an antianxiety medication
  • Dicyclomine (Bentyl®)
  • Hyoscyamine (Levsin®, Anaspaz®)
  • Hyoscyamine, atropine, scopolamine, and phenobarbital (Donnatal®).
     
These medicines appear to work best when taken before symptoms occur, so they are most helpful when a person can predict the beginning of symptoms.
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