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Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2013 May;22(5):565-72. doi: 10.1517/13543784.2013.782392. Epub 2013 Mar 19.

Atypical antipsychotics as a possible treatment option for irritable bowel syndrome.

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  • 1The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Bucheon St Mary's Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, 2 Sosa-Dong, Wonmi-Gu, Bucheon, Kyeonggi-Do 420-717, Republic of Korea.



Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID) that is characterised by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits. Although the pathophysiology of IBS is not fully understood, it is believed that psychiatric comorbidities are highly common in such patients. A variety of psychotropic medications are widely used in the treatment of IBS, particularly older antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).


With the advent of newer antidepressant classes with better safety and tolerability compared with TCAs, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), clinicians now have more advanced treatment options for treating IBS. Additionally, some atypical antipsychotics (AAs) have recently received approval for treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Some AAs may have potentials based on their pharmacodynamic profile and proven benefit for mood symptoms, pain, anxiety and sleep disturbances. This article describes the potential rationale, clinical data and practical aspects involved in the use of AAs for patients with IBS.


Atypical antipsychotics (AAs) may have a role in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) based on the currently available findings, although there is no clear evidence, and a number of clinical issues to be addressed in the use of AAs for the treatment of IBS.

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