Review decision date: December 2013

Review decision: 

We checked this guideline and decided that it should be updated. For details, see the update decision and the process for deciding if an update is needed. The update has been published (February 2015) with further information available on this page.

Next review date: 2017

The advice in the NICE guideline covers the care of adults with irritable bowel syndrome, including:

  • the support, treatment and advice people should be offered by their GP in diagnosing and helping to manage their irritable bowel syndrome
  • circumstances when people need to be referred to a specialist for further tests.

It does not specifically look at:

  • irritable bowel syndrome in children and young people under 18 years
  • people with other gastrointestinal disorders such as non-ulcer dyspepsia (indigestion with no obvious cause) or coeliac disease

This guideline was previously called irritable bowel syndrome in adults: diagnosis and management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care

Recommendation 1.1.1.3 in this guideline has been partially updated by recommendation 1.1.2.1 in Ovarian cancer (NICE guideline CG122; published April 2011).

In February 2015, recommendations on dietary and lifestyle advice and pharmacological therapy have been added to and updated in sections 1.2.1 and 1.2.2. The guideline addendum contains details of the methods and evidence used to update these recommendations.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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