Open-Label Treatment With Citalopram in Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Pilot Study

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Background: This open-label pilot study investigated whether the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a functional gastrointestinal disorder with frequent psychiatric comorbidity.

Method: Fifteen patients meeting Rome I criteria for IBS were administered open-label citalopram (20-40 mg/day) for 12 weeks. The study was conducted from October 2000 to August 2001.

Results: Twelve (80%) of the 15 subjects reported a >= 50% decrease in the presence of abdominal pain, 10 (67%) reported a >= 50% reduction in the severity of the symptom, and 12 (80%) reported a >= 50% reduction in the frequency of the symptom. Approximately one half of the patients met criteria for remission (>= 70% improvement) of abdominal pain.

Conclusion: Results of this pilot study suggest that large controlled trials are needed to further evaluate the efficacy of SSRIs such as citalopram for the treatment of IBS.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2005;7(4):162-166

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.v07n0404