Research shows that you have two brains, one in your skull and the other in your stomach. Your stomach has the same nerves and the same neurotransmitters that govern nerve function that your brain does. So drugs for your brain can also treat your stomach.

The makers of a drug called Lotronex (alosetron) want you to think that emotional problems cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) characterized by alternating constipation and diarrhea. Before you accept irritable bowel syndrome as an emotional disease, try eating a high-fiber diet and avoiding pastas and bakery products.

Lotronex was originally developed to treat anxiety. Many other drugs affect the gut. Prozac treats depression by increasing brain levels of serotonin, but it also causes diarrhea and cramping. Clonidine helps treat anxiety, but it also can treat irritable bowel syndrome. Imitrex, prescribed to treat migraine headaches, also helps to control diarrhea. Irritable bowel syndrome is caused by poor eating habits: taking in too much low fiber flour and to little high fiber produce. If you suffer from IBS, change your diet and take drugs only if that fails, and after checking with your doctor about the drug's possible side effects. See report #G133 on irritable bowel syndrome.

Lancet, March 25, 2000 editorial, pp.1030-1-31 and article, pp. 1035-1040.

Checked 8/9/05

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