Barker, P.; McNaught, C.E.; Anderson, A.D.G.; Mitchell, C.J.; MacFie, J.
April 2003
Gut;Apr2003 Supplement 1, Vol. 52, pA11
Academic Journal
Introduction: Alterations in resident Gl microflora have been implicated in the aetiology of irritable bowel syndrome (lBS) and this provides a theoretical rationale for the use of probiotics in these patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of synbiotics (pre- and probiotics) in this group. Methods: Patients fulfilling the Rome 2 criteria were randomised to receive a synbiotic preparation (oligofructose/Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Bb12) or placebo for an 8 week period. Frequency of stool and abdominal pain were charted during weeks 0 (pretreatment), and 8, along with linear analogue (100 mm) measures of abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scores. Data from weeks 0 and 8 were treated as "paired," and the difference between the data points calculated for each patient. Non-parametric tests were then applied. Results: A total of 34 patients were randomised (19 placebo, 15 synbiotic). The groups were similar with regards to age (45 ± 17 years placebo, 50 ± 13 years synbiotic) and sex distribution (m:f = 4:15 placebo, 7:8 synbiotic). Both groups of patients showed significant improvement in pain frequency (median reduction three episodes per week), p < 0.05 and severity (median difference 12 mm on analogue score), p < 0.02. Both groups showed significant improvement in HAD score (median improvement 1.5 points), p < 0.05. There were no significant differences between synbiotic and placebo groups in any measured parameter (abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating, frequency of stool, or HAD score). Conclusion: In this group of lBS patients there is no evidence of benefit from 8 weeks of synbiotic treatment. Both synbiotic and placebo groups showed significant clinical improvement, which is likely to represent a "placebo effect.


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