A small study suggests that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants can help those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Serotonin plays an important role in gastrointestinal tract activity, and SSRIs are often used to treat IBS, although there is still little evidence for the effectiveness that use of the drugs.
Researchers looked at the effect of citalopram (Celexa) at 20 and 40 mgs on 23 patients, none of whom were suffering from depression, over the course of two six-week periods separated by a three-week gap.
Citalopram alleviated several IBS symptoms, including abdominal pain and bloating, as well as improving a patient's "overall well being."Since changes in mood did not correlate with IBS symptom improvement, citalopram's ability to alleviate IBS is apparently seems unrelated to its effect on depression.