Which treatment is effective in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis: Probiotic or placebo?

April 19, 2010, World Journal of Gastroenterology

A research team from China compared the therapeutic effects of probiotics treatment and non-probiotics treatment on ulcerative colitis in remission induction and maintenance. The meta-analysis showed that probiotic treatment was more effective than placebo in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis.

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic recurrent disease, which mainly consists of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and whose causes are as yet unclear. Many clinical and research studies have indicated that intestinal flora dysbacteriosis contributes to the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis.

Probiotics are non-pathogenic beneficial flora, which have important effects on maintaining the balance of intestinal flora. Many studies have discussed the positive effects of probiotics for treating stomach and intestine diseases, including ulcerative colitis. However, the sample size has been relatively small, such that there is no definitive evidence as to whether probiotics are helpful.

A research team from China systematically evaluated probiotics' curative effects for treating ulcerative colitis based on existing random control trials. Their study will be published on April 21, 2010 in the .

Through meta-analysis, they concluded that probiotics should be considered as an auxiliary medicine in the remission induction stage and maintenance stage of .

More information: Sang LX, Chang B, Zhang WL, Wu XM, Li XH, Jiang M. Remission induction and maintenance effect of probiotics on ulcerative colitis: A meta-analysis. World J Gastroenterol 2010;16(15): 1908-1915. www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/full/v16/i15/1908.htm

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