Patients in GP surgeries in Bristol are being invited to take part in a large trial of low-dose amitriptyline for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) lead by researchers from the universities of Bristol, Leeds and Southampton.
IBS is a common gut disorder affecting one in ten people. Abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel habit affect patients’ quality of life substantially and can force them to take days off work. Low-dose amitriptyline is recommended as a treatment option for people who have persistent, troublesome IBS symptoms. It is thought to work at low doses in IBS because it has pain-relieving properties and changes bowel activity. However, there have been no large studies done in primary care to test whether or not it works.
The study, known as ATLANTIS ( A mi t riptyline at l ow-dose an d t itrated for I BS as s econd-line treatment) is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and will recruit over 500 people with IBS, who will receive either amitriptyline or a placebo tablet for at least six months. Participants will be recruited from general practices across three hubs within the South West of England, the South and Yorkshire.
Alexander Ford , Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of Leeds, Honorary Consultant Gastroenterologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and co-chief investigator, explained: “This is an incredibly exciting study. Tricyclic antidepressants have been used, at low dose, for the treatment of IBS in hospitals for many years, but their effectiveness in primary care is unknown. Ours will be the first large study to whether they work in this setting. The work is therefore of considerable importance for people living with IBS, their families, the NHS, and society as a whole. ”
Dr Matthew Ridd , a GP, Reader in Primary Care Research in the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol and principal investigator, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with local GP surgeries on this important study investigating the effects of amitriptyline for people with IBS, which has the potential to provide significant patient benefit.”
To take part in the ATLANTIS study, or for more information, please contact Amy Herbert on tel (0117) 331 4554 or email atlantis-study [at] bristol.ac (p) uk