Which came first? The cure or the disease?

Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) didn‘t "exist" before the advent of FDA-approved drugs like Ritalin and Adderall…kids were just kids.

Doctors all but dismissed restless leg syndrome (RLS) until all-of-a-sudden FDA- approved drugs like REQUIP and Mirapex hit the market. Today it‘s a mainstream newsworthy disease affecting millions.

And fibromyalgia sufferers were told "it‘s all in your mind" until the FDA let Lyrica loose on the medical scene. Now dozens of cases of unexplained pain can be treated with this "miracle."

Well, we can add a new drug to this list of which-came-first diseases as the FDA gave Amitiza a wink and a nod for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

IBS affects between 10 and 15 percent of the population and can involve gas, pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

Amitiza, however, is designed to help only those women who have the form of IBS that causes constipation…but not other symptoms, like diarrhea. And it was shown to be effective for 20 percent of the women studied…after a week of use.

In other words, the FDA has just approved a prescription-only constipation drug…that needs a week to be effective.

Don‘t have the time or the inclination to get a prescription? No problem…you can find prune juice and fiber supplements on just about any grocery store shelf. Plus, my colleague, Dr. Alan Inglis, has been treating constipation with magnesium supplements for years…and with fantastic results.

If that doesn‘t do the trick, there are any number of OTC laxatives that can get things moving as well. Heck, even a cup of coffee will sometimes do the trick.

That‘s not to downplay the torments of women who are truly suffering through IBS. It is very real and can be rather debilitating.

However, best as I can tell, Amitiza is not an IBS drug…it‘s a constipation drug. But they happened to test it on women with IBS, so now they get to market it as such. My opinion? Don‘t bother.