Reduce bloating and excess gas with a common antibiotic

In the first study of its kind, researchers discovered that rifaximin, an antibiotic used to treat diarrhea, is an effective treatment for abdominal bloating and flatulence, including in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients. This research is published in the February issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology.

In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, researchers at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon treated 124 patients with rifaximin therapy and found that it was effective at relieving the symptoms of bloating and excess gaseousness by way of reducing the amount of hydrogen gas produced in the large intestine. And because rifaximin is non-absorbable, there are no side effects, making it suitable for chronic use.

Research has shown that these symptoms are common and often more disturbing to IBS patients, as well as being harder to treat, than the commonly associated diarrhea and constipation. Fortunately, among the patients with IBS in the trial, a favorable response was also noted, which lasted even through the post-treatment phase of the study.


This study is published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Media who wish to receive a PDF of the article should contact [email protected].

Corresponding author of the study Ala Sharara, MD specializes in clinical research of various GI disorders including Helicobacter pylori and functional GI disorders. He can be reached for questions and interviews at [email protected].

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The clinical journal in gastroenterology: The American Journal of Gastroenterology meets the day-to-day demands of clinical practice. Aimed at practicing clinicians, the journal's articles deal directly with the disorders seen most often in patients. The journal brings a broad-based, interdisciplinary approach to the study of gastroenterology, including articles reporting on current observations, research results, methods of treatment, drugs, epidemiology, and other topics relevant to clinical gastroenterology.

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The ideas and opinions expressed in The American Journal of Gastroenterology are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect any position of the editors, the publisher or the American College of Gastroenterology. Because this publication provides information on the latest developments in gastroenterology, articles may include information on drug or device applications that are not considered community standard, or that reflect indications not included in approved FDA labeling. Such ideas are provided as information and education only so that practitioners may be aware of alternative methods of the practice of medicine. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, its editors, the publisher or the American College of Gastroenterology in no event will be liable for any injury and/or damages arising out of any decision made or action taken or not taken in reliance on information contained herein.

Last updated: 30 Apr 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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