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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Padma Lax, a complex Tibetan herbal formula for constipation was evaluated for safety and effectiveness in treating constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome in a 3-month double-blind randomised pilot study.METHODS: Patients were recruited from Hadassah Hospital's Gastroenterology clinic, using the Rome I Criteria for irritable bowel syndrome, and the international consensus criteria for constipation. Symptom severity was evaluated monthly by patients and gastroenterologist, using categorical and numerical rating scales. A patient diary recorded daily stool habit and trial medication. RESULTS: In 61 patients, (34 Padma Lax, 27 placebo), significant improvement was demonstrated after 3 months in the Padma Lax group compared to placebo in constipation, severity of abdominal pain, and its effect on daily activities, incomplete evacuation, abdominal distension and flatus/flatulence. A global assessment indicated that significantly more Padma Lax patients, compared to placebo, rated the current treatment superior to previous therapies tried for irritable bowel. Laboratory parameters displayed no clinically significant changes. Side effects, primarily loose stools in 7 Padma Lax patients responded well to lowering treatment dosage from 2 to 1 capsule/day. CONCLUSIONS: Padma Lax is a safe and effective treatment for constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome and may offer an alternative to the current multi drug approach.