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Cover of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults

Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Adults

Diagnosis and Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Primary Care

NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 61



This guideline covers areas relevant to the diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) reflecting the complete patient journey, from the person presenting with IBS symptoms, positive diagnosis and management, targeted at symptom control. The guideline incorporates Cochrane reviews, published NICE clinical and public health guidance, Health Technology Assessment reports, systematic and health economic reviews produced by the National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care. Recommendations are based on clinical and cost effectiveness evidence, and where this is insufficient, the GDG used all available information sources and experience to make consensus recommendations using nominal group technique.


Based at the Royal College of Nursing, the NCCNSC is a partnership of organisations brought together for the purposes of supporting the development of NICE clinical practice guidelines. The partnership is comprised of representatives from the following organisations: Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of York; Clinical Effectiveness Forum for Allied Health Professions; Healthcare Libraries, University of Oxford; Health Economics Research Centre, University of Oxford; Royal College of Nursing; UK Cochrane Centre.


Where the term ‘carer’ is used, this refers to unpaid carers as opposed to paid careworkers.

This guideline was developed by the National Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Supportive Care (NCCNSC) on behalf of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). The guideline was commissioned and funded by NICE and developed in accordance with NICE processes and methodologies.


As with any clinical practice guideline, the recommendations contained in this guideline may not be appropriate in all circumstances. A limitation of a guideline is that it simplifies clinical decision-making (Shiffman 1997). Decisions to adopt any particular recommendations must be made by practitioners in the context of:

  • Available resources
  • Local services, policies and protocols
  • The circumstances and wishes of the patient
  • Available personnel and devices
  • Clinical experience of the practitioner
  • Knowledge of more recent research findings
Copyright © 2008, Royal College of Nursing.
Bookshelf ID: NBK51953PMID: 21656972


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