Table 2 Characteristics of randomised controlled trials of antidepressants versus placebo in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Study (first author, year and reference no.)CountrySettingDiagnostic criteria used for IBSCriteria used to define symptom improvement following therapySample sizeAntidepressant usedDuration of therapyJadad score
Heefner 197853USATertiary careClinical diagnosis and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in abdominal pain44Desipramine 150 mg od2 months4
Myren 198259NorwaySecondary careClinical diagnosis and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in global symptoms61Trimipramine 50 mg od4 weeks2
Nigam 198436IndiaSecondary careClinical diagnosis and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in global symptoms42Amitriptyline 12.5 mg od12 weeks3
Boerner 198856GermanySecondary careClinical diagnosis and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in global symptoms83Doxepin 50 mg od8 weeks4
Bergmann 199161GermanySecondary careClinical diagnosis and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in global symptoms35Trimipramine 50 mg od3 months2
Vij 199158IndiaSecondary careClinical diagnosis and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in global symptoms50Doxepin 75 mg od6 weeks5
Drossman 2003*37USATertiary careRome I⩾Score of 28 on treatment satisfaction questionnaire172Desipramine 50 mg od for 1 week, then 100 mg od for 1 week, then 150 mg od thereafter12 weeks5
Kuiken 200354HollandTertiary careRome I and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in global symptoms40Fluoxetine 20 mg od6 weeks5
Tabas 200455USATertiary careRome IPatient-reported improvement in well-being90Paroxetine 10 mg, increasing to 20 mg then 40 mg if no improvement12 weeks5
Vahedi 200552IranSecondary careRome II and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in abdominal pain44Fluoxetine 20 mg od12 weeks5
Tack 2006*57BelgiumTertiary careRome II and investigationsPatient-reported 50% decrease in days with symptoms23Citalopram 20 mg for 3 weeks increasing to 40 mg od for next 3 weeks6 weeks4
Talley 200851AustraliaTertiary careRome II and investigationsPatient-reported adequate relief of symptoms51Imipramine 50 mg od or citalopram 40 mg od12 weeks5
Vahedi 200860IranSecondary careRome II and investigationsPatient-reported improvement in global symptoms54Amitriptyline 10 mg od2 months5
  • *Further information obtained from the original investigators.

  • od, once daily.