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Pregabalin may lessen pain from irritable bowel syndrome

By Ryan Maass
Mayo Clinic researchers say pregabalin's anti-pain properties may be ideal for supplementing irritable bowel syndrome treatment. Photo by Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic researchers say pregabalin's anti-pain properties may be ideal for supplementing irritable bowel syndrome treatment. Photo by Mayo Clinic.

ROCHESTER, Minn., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Patients living with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, may be able to take pregabalin to alleviate their pain, Mayo Clinic researchers say in a pilot study.

Pregabalin is a neuro-pain inhibitor normally used to treat fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by sharp pain, fatigue and mood issues. In a report presented during the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Las Vegas, authors say the inhibitor's properties may be ideal for supplementing irritable bowel syndrome treatment.

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"There currently are limited treatment options available to fight the abdominal pain associated with IBS," study author Yuri Saito Loftus said in a press release. "We theorized that pregabalin could potentially be helpful."

During the study, the research team followed 85 patients with IBS who reported having high levels of abdominal pain. The patients were between 18 and 70 years old. Researchers compared patients who received a placebo to those who received pregabalin, and found the experimental group experienced improved symptoms including bloating and diarrhea.

While Loftus is optimistic about the study's implications, the author conceded the experiment involved a small sample size, and results may vary with replication.

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"Our study does provide preliminary evidence that pregabalin may be an additional treatment option for patients with IBS who have failed other treatment options, but more research is needed," Loftus added.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain associated with bowel movement patterns. Medical experts are unsure what causes the disorder.

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