Travellers’ diarrhoea is one of the commonest illnesses to occur in those who travel overseas and is usually the result of the consumption of bacteria-contaminated food or water. The condition is also an important risk factor for the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
However, you do not need to let the threat of travellers’ diarrhoea or an IBS flare-up stop you from travelling to exotic locations or living your everyday life. The antibiotic Rifaximin can be taken to shorten the duration of diarrhoea and manage symptoms of IBS, such as flatulence as bloating. Here, leading London gastroenterologist Dr Aathavan Loganayagam explains how the drug works.
How does Rifaximin work?
Rifaximin treats travellers’ diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome by stopping the growth of the bacteria that cause diarrhoea. It treats hepatic encephalopathy by stopping the growth of bacteria that produce toxins, which may worsen liver disease.
Rifaximin is a nonabsorbable, broad-spectrum antimicrobial that inhibits bacterial RNA synthesis by binding the β-subunit of microbial RNA polymerase.
It targets the gastrointestinal tract and works by reducing the quantity of gas-producing bacteria and altering the predominant species of bacteria present. In vivo, animal studies suggest additional beneficial mechanisms of Rifaximin, including reducing mucosal inflammation and visceral hypersensitivity.
Clinical studies have demonstrated that Rifaximin improves symptoms associated with IBS, such as bloating, flatulence, stool consistency, and abdominal pain and has a side-effect profile similar to a placebo.
Is Rifaximin safe to take?
Although additional investigation into optimal dosing, treatment duration, and potential resistance is required, Rifaximin presents as a safe and beneficial addition to the current management options for IBS.
If you would like to discuss your treatment plan options for irritable bowel syndrome, do not hesitate to visit Dr Loganayagam at his clinic.