Tegaserod for IBS with constipation improved patients Fibromyalgia Syndrome
A pilot study of Irritable Bowel Syndrome medication tegaserod (Zelnorm) in Fibromyalgia Syndrome patients has found that their Fibromyalgia Syndrome symptoms were also alleviated.
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are commonly seen in Fibromyalgia Syndrome (Fibro) patients. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of a 5-hydroxytryptamin-4 receptor partial agonist (tegaserod) on the symptoms of Fibro among the patients who receive the medicine because of IBS.
Tegaserod works by increasing the action of serotonin in the intestines, which speeds up the movement of stools (bowel movements) through the bowels.
Tegaserod was approved by the American Food and Drug Administration as a medication for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) in young women in 2002. However, this approval was withdrawn in 2007 over safety concerns, with some people voicing concerns that it had been wrongly prescribed: for example, to women suffering from alternating IBS (IBS-A, which is IBS with both constipation and diarrhoea). However, it is available in the US in emergency situations and is available in some other counties.
For this study, 41 female patients with IBS and constipation, which were subjects to tegaserod treatment, were examined by rheumatologist and 14 were found to suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome.
The fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ) and clinical examination were performed before tegaserod treatment and 1 month after.
The researchers found that the IBS status, the total FIQ score, the number of tender points and pain in tender points were lowered significantly after the treatment
"The results of this pilot study provide the preliminary evidence that [Fibromyalgia Syndrome] patients can benefit from treatment by 5-hydroxytryptamin-4 receptor partial agonist. Additional studies are needed to support this conclusion."
A number of medications that boost the action of serotonin are already used for the treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome.
One interesting aspect not addressed by this pilot study is whether the benefit to the Fibromyalgia Syndrome patients comes directly from the medication or from the relief to the patients' IBS symptoms.
- Reitblat T, Zamir D, Polishchuck I, Novochatko G, Malnick S, Kalichman L. Patients treated by tegaserod for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation showed significant improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms. A pilot study. Clin Rheumatol. 2009 May 26. [Epub ahead of print]