A NEW trial for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is opening for recruitment in the south.

Doctors at the University of Southampton are inviting patients in GP surgeries across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset to take part in a large trial of low-dose amitriptyline for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gut disorder affecting 1 in 10 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.

This study, known as ATLANTIS, is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme, and will recruit more than 500 people with IBS, who will receive either amitriptyline or a placebo tablet for at least six months.

Co- Chief Investigator Hazel Everitt, Professor of Primary Care Research at the University of Southampton said: “It is very exciting to have our first patients entering this important study which will provide high quality research evidence to improve IBS management in primary care.

"In Southampton and the South we are aiming to recruit 175 patients from 25 GP practices over the next 18 months.

"We know that many people with IBS have troublesome ongoing symptoms which are not helped by ‘first-line’ prescribe medications such as fibre supplements, laxatives and anti-spasmodics.

"Low dose amitriptyline is recommended as a ‘second-line’ option but is currently not often prescribed by GPs for the management of IBS symptoms.

"This trial will provide GPs and patients with evidence to know whether it may help people with IBS in primary care."

The research is due to complete in June 2022.

GPs and patients interested in participating in the trial can find more information on the ATLANTIS website or by contacting the clinical team on atlantis@soton.ac.uk.