Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a multifactorial condition with principal symptoms of pain and altered bowel function. The kappa-opioid agonist asimadoline is being evaluated in Phase III as a potential treatment for IBS. Asimadoline, to date, has shown a good safety profile and the target Phase III population – diarrhea-predominant IBS patients with at least moderate pain – was iteratively determined in a prospective manner from a Phase II dose-ranging study. The clinical data in support of this population are reviewed in this article. Furthermore, the scientific rationale for the use of asimadoline in the treatment of IBS is reviewed. Considering the high patient and societal burdens of IBS, new treatments for IBS represent therapeutic advances.