Disease Overview

Symptoms of IBS drive many patients to visit their healthcare providers1

Patients suffering from IBS experience abdominal pain or discomfort associated with two or more of the following: improvement with defecation, onset associated with a change in frequency of stool, or onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.2

IBS is subtyped by the predominant stool form: constipation (IBS-C), diarrhea (IBS-D), or mixed (IBS-M). Those within the IBS-C subtype also experience hard or lumpy stools more than 25% of the time they defecate, and loose or watery stools less than 25% of the time.2

Many patients attempt to manage symptoms with over-the-counter (OTC) medication before talking to a healthcare provider, thereby delaying diagnosis and appropriate treatment. According to a 2015 survey by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)3:

  • Three-quarters of patients with IBS reported taking an OTC medication before consulting a doctor
  • Nearly 4 in 10 IBS patients waited more than 3 years before seeing a doctor about their symptoms


With its multiple subtypes, IBS is one of the most prevalent functional GI disorders 2,4

IBS affects up to 55 million Americans, predominantly women and adults under 50.4,5 It is estimated that the prevalence of IBS-C in the adult population in the United States is approximately 4%-5%, although this number may vary as patients often fluctuate between the 3 subtypes of IBS. 2,6


There is an opportunity for new treatments to address UNMET medical needs

Some of the IBS treatment approaches recognized by the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), including specialized diets, fiber, and psychological interventions, may not always effectively address abdominal pain and discomfort experienced by these patients.7

While there are prescription drug options, not all patients find complete relief, and many struggle with adverse events.4,8

Next: OIC


  1. Hulisz D. The burden of illness of irritable bowel syndrome: current challenges and hope for the future. J Manag Care Pharm. 2004;10:299-309.
  2. Longstreth GF, Thompson WG, Chey WD, Houghton LA, Mearin F, Spiller RC. Functional bowel disorders. Gastroenterology. 2006;130:1480-1491.
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome in America. A survey report of the American Gastroenterological Association. December 2015. http://ibsinamerica.gastro.org/. Accessed February 22, 2016.
  4. Peyton L, Greene J. Irritable bowel syndrome: current and emerging treatment options. P&T. 2014;39(8):567-578.
  5. Heidelbaugh JJ, Stelwagon M, Miller SA, Shea EP, Chey WD. The spectrum of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation: US survey assessing symptoms, care seeking, and disease burden. Am J Gastroenterol. 2015;110:580-587. 
  6. Doshi JA, Cai Q, Buono JL, et al. Economic burden of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation: a retrospective analysis of health care costs in a commercially insured population. J Manag Care Pharm. 2014;20(4):382-390.
  7. Ford AC, Moayyedi P, Lacy BE, et al. American College of Gastroenterology monograph on the management of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation; for the Task Force on the Management of Functional Bowel Disorders. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014;109:S2-S26.
  8. Thomas RH, Luthin DR. Current and emerging treatments for irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and chronic idiopathic constipation: focus on prosecretory agents. Pharmacother. 2015;35(6):613-630.