The FDA recently approved a drug for women 18 years of age and older for a condition called irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). The drug is Amitiza (lubiprostone). Health officials indicate that at the present, there are no other prescription drugs available in the United States for this condition. The safety and efficacy of Amitiza was evaluated in two major studies and involved individuals who were experiencing at least mild abdominal pain or discomfort associated with other IBS-C symptoms. Women in the study that got Amitiza reported relief of IBS symptoms moderately or to a significant degree, more so than those who took a placebo (fake drug) over a 12 week period of study.
IBS-C is an intestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, cramping and constipation. Although these symptoms vary from person to person, they can in some instances be disabling. Some health experts believe IBS is caused by changes in the nerves that control the muscles in the bowel. Since women are more likely than men to experience this condition, some researchers believe that hormonal changes may play a role.