This article summarizes the ongoing challenges in irritable bowel syndrome and the exciting opportunities for development of novel therapies for this common, enigmatic condition. The challenges include insufficient understanding of mechanisms, lack of specificity of symptoms, differentiation from other conditions, and lack of availability of noninvasive tests to identify dysfunctions. However, significant opportunities are reflected by the advances in clinical trial design and, particularly, clinically relevant end points for such trials, and the increasing understanding of basic neuroenteric science. The latter has delivered two new medications to the practice (alosetron and tegaserod), and other candidate therapies (other serotonergic, tachykininergic, opioid, cannabinoid modulators) are being carefully appraised as potential drugs for the future.
- Colonic diseases
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