The role of 5-HT agents in the modulation of lower gastrointestinal function is discussed. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are of potential benefit in functional gastrointestinal diseases although formal evidence is lacking. Novel pharmacological approaches include 5-HT3 antagonists and 5-HT4 agonists. These pharmacological classes have shown beneficial effects on a global efficacy end point, and ameliorated more than one symptom of lower gut function in clinical trials. They offer promise for the development of novel therapies for the treatment and control of irritable bowel syndrome.
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