Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects the lives of around 42 million people in the United States. This chronic condition is associated with diarrhea, constipation or both and can leave you feeling bloated, uncomfortable and embarrassed. If you suffer from IBS, then you probably have tried a variety of ways to help soothe your digestive problems. With so many people struggling with this issue, there have been quite a few new drugs that have entered the market or will make their debut in 2018. Here are a few of them.
Trulance was approved by the FDA in January 2017 to assist those who experience persistent constipation. This medication stimulates the production of intestinal fluid to help move waste through the intestines and also helps to soften stool consistency to allow for easier bowel movements.
EnteraGam binds microbial components – such as toxic substances released by bacteria – that upsets the intestines. Binding these toxins helps to prevent them from penetrating the lining of the intestines which can contribute to chronic diarrhea or loose stools in people who have IBS-D (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea). It’s derived from cow blood and is most often used in fat loss prevention for piglets (I know, this is almost unbelievable…) While it has been available for a few years now, the pharmaceutical company RedHill has only recently started to promote it.
Bile acid modulators are a newer type of medication that moves food and waste through your gastrointestinal (GI) tract more quickly, while altering the level of bile in your GI tract. This can help stimulate your bowels if you’re constipated.
Use New IBS Treatments With Caution: The Problem with Viberzi
Sales of drugs to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are expected to soar from a value of $610 million in 2010 to $2.7 billion by 2020. It’s no wonder that drug companies are in a race to get them on the market. However, many times the health and well being of the patients aren’t always at the forefront of the pharmaceutical company’s conscience.
Viberzi is an opioid that was approved for the market in May 2015. Its primary purpose is to slow down the intestines to help prevent diarrhea, but it also runs the risk of slowing down other muscles that control the normal flow of digestive fluids, particularly the sphincter of Oddi, a muscle responsible for the regular opening and closing of the bile duct. If the sphincter of Oddi relaxes too much and doesn’t contract to open, the result is a backup of caustic digestive fluids in the gallbladder and pancreas. This basically causes the body to “digest” the organs which can lead to excruciating pain, pancreatitis, and in at least two documented Viberzi cases, death.
One fatality was associated with pancreatitis while the other death was associated with sphincter of Oddi spasm. The patient who was diagnosed with pancreatitis suffered from severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting within one hour of taking the initial Viberzi dose. The patient died three days later. The patient who developed sphincter of Oddi spasm experienced severe abdominal pain and vomiting shortly after ingesting just one dose of Viberzi.
Before you take any medication, read all of the available materials that come with it to weigh the benefits versus risks of the drug. Additionally, consider waiting to take any new medication that enters to market to determine its full effects on the body. Many times it takes years to completely understand the dangers associated with new medications.