Could cancer anti-sickness drug help IBS patients?

2nd March 2020

Could a commonly-prescribed anti-sickness drug be the answer for the 1.3 million people in the UK who struggle with irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhoea (IBS-D)?

A nationwide clinical trial led by researchers at The University of Nottingham and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will assess the medication ondansetron, which is currently used by doctors to help cancer patients cope with the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

The research will aim to establish whether a much lower dose of the drug could also be a successful treatment for the abdominal pain and urgent bowel movements typically experienced by IBS patients.

The researchers are aiming to recruit 400 adults who have IBS with diarrhoea from more than 20 hospitals across the UK to take part in the research and are appealing for anyone interested in taking part to visit the website to find out whether they are eligible for the study by answering a few simple questions.

Professor Robin Spiller, of the University’s Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre, said: “Our pilot study suggested this was very valuable for reducing the need for urgent bowel movements which patients find so disruptive of their daily activities, both at work and when they should be relaxing and enjoying life.”

 

 

Half of the volunteers taking part in the 12-week study will be prescribed ondansetron, while the other half will receive a placebo. Participants will be asked to keep a detailed diary and respond to daily text messages to document their symptoms which will help doctors to assess any potential benefits of the new medication.

The trial is being carried out in collaboration with Nottingham University NHS Hospital Trust, as part of the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre, and will be run from the Leeds Clinical Trials Research Unit at the University of Leeds.

For more information, click here.

Disclaimer: This publication presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

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