Common antidepressant amitriptyline also relieves painful symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome


LEEDS, United Kingdom — An antidepressant may also alleviate signs of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) amongst sufferers receiving care from a common practitioner (GP). British researchers carried out the examine in major care settings, the place GPs prescribed amitriptyline — whose model names embrace Elavil and Vanatrip. Sufferers adjusted their doses primarily based on the severity of their signs utilizing a specialised adjustment doc designed for the trial.

The examine revealed that sufferers taking amitriptyline had been practically twice as more likely to report an total enchancment in signs in comparison with these taking a placebo.

“Amitriptyline is an efficient therapy for IBS and is secure and effectively tolerated,” says examine co-chief investigator Alexander Ford, professor of gastroenterology on the College of Leeds’ Faculty of Drugs, in a university release. “This new rigorously carried out analysis signifies that common practitioners ought to help sufferers in major care to attempt low-dose amitriptyline if their IBS signs haven’t improved with beneficial first-line remedies.”

IBS impacts roughly one in 20 individuals worldwide, inflicting abdominal pain and alterations in bowel movements. This long-term situation, which at the moment lacks a recognized treatment, varies in severity over time and considerably impacts sufferers’ high quality of life, work, and social interactions. Most out there remedies have restricted efficacy, and sufferers typically expertise persistent troublesome signs.

Amitriptyline belongs to a bunch of medicines often called tricyclics. Initially used at excessive doses to deal with depression, it’s now not often prescribed for this function as a result of improvement of newer remedies.

Whereas earlier small trials prompt potential advantages of low-dose tricyclic antidepressants for IBS in hospital clinic sufferers with more difficult signs, the ATLANTIS trial represents the primary randomized managed trial of low-dose amitriptyline versus a placebo pill for IBS in major care. It’s also the biggest trial of its variety worldwide.

Though GPs already prescribe low-dose amitriptyline for situations resembling power nerve ache and migraine prevention, the proof for its effectiveness in treating IBS has remained unsure till now.

Man battling stomach pain from possible gastrointestinal disorder
(© Prostock-studio –

Based mostly on the ATLANTIS trial’s outcomes, which exhibit a transparent advantage of amitriptyline, GPs can now supply this low-dose medicine to people with IBS if their signs don’t enhance with first-line remedies.

“Previous to ATLANTIS, GPs haven’t typically prescribed amitriptyline for IBS because the analysis proof was unsure, however our new analysis offers good proof of profit,” explains examine co-chief Investigator Hazel Everitt, professor of major care analysis on the College of Southampton.

The ATLANTIS trial enrolled 463 individuals with IBS from West Yorkshire, Wessex, and the West of England, recruited from 55 common practices. Contributors had been randomly assigned to both obtain amitriptyline or a placebo. They’d management over the variety of tablets they took, adjusting the dosage primarily based on their IBS signs and any side-effects utilizing a affected person dose adjustment doc created particularly for the trial.

After six months, members taking amitriptyline reported a big enchancment of their symptom scores in comparison with these on the placebo. They had been practically twice as more likely to report an total enchancment in IBS symptoms, with amitriptyline displaying superior outcomes throughout varied IBS symptom measures.

Researchers additionally monitored members’ anxiousness and despair scores, which remained unchanged. This implies that the helpful results of amitriptyline had been primarily associated to its influence on the intestine relatively than any antidepressant properties.

No important security issues had been recognized, and side-effects in these taking amitriptyline had been typically delicate, resembling experiencing a dry mouth within the morning.

“The outcomes of this examine are massively encouraging,” says Andrew Farmer, director of the Nationwide Institute for Well being and Care Analysis’s Well being Know-how Evaluation Program. “It reveals {that a} drug already extensively out there to deal with plenty of different situations seems to be secure and efficient for individuals with IBS. The findings the analysis group have shared across the adjustment of dosages could be tremendously useful to GPs in guiding them when treating sufferers.”

The examine is revealed within the journal The Lancet.

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