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Review: smooth muscle relaxants improve symptoms and reduce pain in irritable bowel syndrome

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 QUESTION: In patients with the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are smooth muscle relaxants safe and efficacious for global improvement of symptoms?

Data sources

Randomised controlled trials were identified by searching Medline with the terms colonic disease, functional, irritable bowel syndrome, and randomised trial; Current Contents; and bibliographies of relevant trials, meta-analyses, and reviews. Drug companies were also contacted.

Study selection

Trials were selected if they were double blind studies that compared muscle relaxants with placebo, ≥51% of patients had IBS, the drugs studied had myorelaxant properties, and ≥1 end point of global assessment of symptoms, abdominal pain, constipation, or abdominal distension was included.

Data extraction

Data were …

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  • Source of funding: in part, Solvay Pharmaceutical Company.

  • For correspondence: Dr T Poynard, Service d'Hépato-Gastroentérologie, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtriére 47– 83, Boulevard de l'Hôpital 75651, Cedex 13, Paris, France. Fax +33 140 77 9596.