Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition but there are currently few effective treatments.
Eluxadoline is an oral agent with mixed opioid-receptor effects that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of IBS with diarrhoea, however, it is still under consideration by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
In two trials of the drug involving 2,427 patients, nearly a third of patients taking 100mg twice daily saw improvement in both abdominal pain and stool consistency for at least 50% of days during the first 26 weeks of treatment compared with 19–20% of days for placebo-treated patients.
The researchers, writing in The New England Journal of Medicine (online, 21 January 2016)
, say that future studies should seek to identify sub-populations of IBS patients who can most benefit from eluxadoline.