Novel strategies and future landmarks in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome

Author(s): Richard Roka, Krisztina Gecse and Tibor Wittmann

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by continuous or remittent abdominal pain, bloating and altered defecation. The population-based prevalence of IBS has been reported to be approximately 3–20%, depending on the diagnostic criteria. Despite intense research in recent decades, the pathogenesis of IBS remains only partially understood, and thus no specific and universally effective patient management has been developed so far. Current therapy for IBS focuses on the major symptoms, while a novel approach in the treatment is based on targeting specific receptors in the gastrointestinal tract that are known to be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. In view of the severe side effects of early serotonin receptor modulators, a good safety profile is of primary importance in the treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. This article provides a pathogenesis-based overview of recently developed pharmaceutics and future perspectives on the therapy of IBS.