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Best Antidepressant for Constipation and IBS-C

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is frequently treated with antidepressants. People with IBS may have diarrhea or constipation. Chronic constipation with or without IBS may require antidepressant medicines. However, antidepressants may also be one of the causes of constipation.

It might also be puzzling that antidepressants could lessen your IBS symptoms and constipation even if you do also experience depression or anxiety.

Novel antidepressants are being discovered, however, the best antidepressant for constipation is the one that possesses the least anticholinergic properties.

TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) are associated frequently with constipation while on other hand, while SSRIs may relieve constipation.

However, since most of these drugs are prescription-only medicines, they can be used only when your healthcare provider prescribes them to you.

Since data is limited, we created a POLL at the end of the article so that users can vote for the best antidepressant that helped them in relieving constipation.

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Best Antidepressant for Constipation and IBS-C:

Most antidepressants affect the GI tract. However, antidepressants with anticholinergics properties can result in constipation. Some of the antidepressants that can cause constipation and should be avoided if you have IBS-C or chronic constipation include:

TCAs (Tricyclic antidepressants):

  • Amitriptyline (Tryptanol)
  • Clomipramine
  • Desipramine

Some other antidepressants like Mirtazapine (Remeron) and Duloxetine (Cymbalta) may also worsen the symptoms of constipation.

Here are some of the antidepressants that may be used in patients with IBS-C and chronic constipation.

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Citalopram (Celexa)

Citalopram is an SSRI that is used to treat depression. Your vitality and sense of well-being might both be enhanced. Moreover, medication works by helping to restore the normal amount of serotonin, one of the body’s natural neurotransmitters, in the brain.

According to a study that evaluated the effects of citalopram on IBS, Abdominal discomfort, bloating, the impact of symptoms on everyday living, and general health were all improved by citalopram. [ref]

How to use:

Before beginning to take citalopram and after each refill, read the guide or instruction notes provided alongside your meds and ask your physician or pharmacist if you have any queries.

Take citalopram once daily in the morning or evening with or without food as prescribed by your doctor.

The dose is determined by your medical history, treatment response, age, lab results, and any additional drugs you might be taking.

Inform your physician and pharmacist of all the products you consume (which includes prescription drugs, no-prescription drugs, as well as herbal products).

Your doctor might advise you to begin using this medication in small doses and gradually increase them in order to lower your chance of adverse effects.

So, utilize this medication just as directed and never enhance the dosage, frequency, or duration of use. Your condition won’t get better any quicker, and your chance of experiencing negative effects will rise.

Side effects:

It’s possible to have nausea, dry mouth, lack of appetite, fatigue, sleepiness, perspiration, blurred vision, and yawning.

So, inform your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if any of these side effects persist or grow worse.

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Fluoxetine (Prozac)

IBS with a propensity for discomfort and constipation can be treated temporarily with fluoxetine, which is both effective and well-tolerated.

How to use:

When getting a refill for fluoxetine, as well as before you start using it, read the medication guide that your pharmacist has supplied. Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you may have.

According to your doctor’s instructions, take this medicine by mouth once daily in the morning. Your doctor could suggest taking this medication in the morning and at lunch if you need to take it twice a day.

Side effects:

You could experience nausea, tiredness, dizziness, anxiety, trouble falling asleep, loss of appetite, exhaustion, sweating, or yawning. If any of these side effects linger or get worse, tell your doctor as soon as possible.

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Sertraline (Zoloft)

The symptoms of IBS are frequently treated with Zoloft. The majority of patients who get this therapy have anxiety and/or depression that is linked to IBS.

Moreover, your brain and gut’s neurotransmitter levels might change if you take Zoloft. Patients with IBS were shown to benefit from this impact.

How to use:

Typically, food is consumed together with the 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg capsules. You can take the 150 mg and 200 mg capsules with or without meals.

Consume the tablets in full. Do not chew or break the tablets. If you have any concerns regarding how to take this medicine in capsule form, see your doctor or pharmacist.

Prior to usage, sertraline concentration must be diluted. Use the supplied dropper to extract the recommended dosage of concentrate from the bottle just before ingesting it.

The concentrate should be mixed with 4 ounces (or half a cup, or 120 ml) of water, ginger ale, lemonade, lime soda, or orange juice.

Even though the diluted fluid may appear murky after mixing, this is OK. Do not mix the concentrate with any liquids than those listed as the suggested beverages. Drink the diluted mixture right away. [ref]

Side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting having trouble falling or keeping asleep having a dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Excessive fatigue and dizziness
  • Weight fluctuates
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Paroxetine (Paxil)

When it came to reducing IBS-related stomach discomfort and other symptoms, paroxetine was quite helpful. [ref]

Paroxetine (Paxil) is an antidepressant from the most popular category known medically as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

It is one of the safest and most effective antidepressants for treating the signs and symptoms of IBS with constipation, according to a pilot study conducted at Duke University Medical Center. [ref]

How to use:

Paroxetine is available as a tablet, liquid solution, controlled-release (long-acting) tablet, and oral capsule.

It is typical to take the pills, suspension, and controlled-release tablets once a day, in the morning or evening, with or without meals.

The pills are typically taken once daily, with or without a meal, at bedtime. Paroxetine may be taken with meals to avoid stomach discomfort.

Take paroxetine every day at around the same time. However, for any medication label instructions that you do not understand, ask your physician or pharmacist to explain, and carefully follow their instructions.

Exactly as prescribed, take paroxetine. Never take it in quantities or frequencies other than those recommended by your doctor.

Side effects:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
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Escitalopram (Lexapro)

Escitalopram is a medication used to treat anxiety and depression, much like citalopram. It functions by assisting in the recovery of the brain’s normal chemical balance (serotonin).

Escitalopram belongs to the group of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Your health, vigor, and level of worry could all increase.

This medication has been found to be effective in treating and alleviating symptoms in patients of IBS who also suffer from panic disorders. [ref]

How to use:

Every morning and evening, take this med orally. According to the directions of your doctor, you can take this medicine with food or without it.

Based on how old you are, any associated medical condition that you might have, and how you are reacting to the therapy, your dosage will be adjusted. Make sure to inform your doctor about any medications that you are taking alongside.

Every time you go to your doctor or to the pharmacy to refill your medication, remember to thoroughly read all the guidelines provided with it.

Do not attempt to alter your dosage as you wish, keep following your doctor’s guidelines who will prescribe you to start at a low dose in order to avoid any side impacts.

Note: Do not discontinue the therapy if you feel better without consulting your doctor, some complications may exacerbate if you do so.

Side effects:

It’s possible to have nausea, a dry mouth, difficulties sleeping, constipation, fatigue, sleepiness, dizziness, and increased perspiration.

If any of these adverse effects continue or get worse, tell your doctor immediately away.

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How do antidepressants work for constipation and IBS-C?

Visceral hypersensitivity can be decreased by antidepressants by blocking pain signals that are sent from the GI tract to the brain at the level of the brain and spinal cord.

In practice, there is a return to more normal brain-gut interaction, presumably by assisting the brain in sending down messages to suppress an instinctive reaction to incoming pain impulses.

Other IBS symptoms including irregular bowel movements such as constipation and diarrhea may also be controlled by certain antidepressants.

Inhibitors of serotonin reuptake (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) both cure constipation and diarrhea, respectively.

Additionally, these medications can assist with additional issues like depression and anxiety, which are frequently paired with long-lasting painful diseases.

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In conclusion:

SSRIs are better at treating IBS-C and chronic constipation compared to TCAs. Among the commonly used SSRIs, Sertraline (Zoloft) is one of the best in treating chronic constipation.

In fact, one of the side effects of Zoloft is diarrhea. Thus, among all the antidepressants, Zoloft (Sertraline) may be tried in patients with chronic constipation and IBS-C.

Other medications that are not used as antidepressants such as Linzess (Linaclotide), Amitiza (Lubiprostone), Prucalopride (Motegrity), and Trulance (Plecanatide) may be added to the antidepressant regimen for treating IBS-C and chronic constipation.

Which antidepressant helped in relieving your constipation?

  • Which is the best antidepressant that helped your constipation?

    • Citalopram (Celexa)
    • Escitalopram (Cipralex)
    • Sertraline (Zoloft)
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Paroxetine (Paxil)
    • Mirtazapine (Remeron)
    • Vortioxetine (Trintellix)
    • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
    • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
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