(HealthDay)—About one-third of patients with inactive intestinal Behçet's disease (BD) have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and rifaximin is associated with symptom improvement, according to a study published online June 30 in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Jung Hyun Jo, M.D., from Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues examined the frequency of SIBO in 25 with intestinal BD who had gastrointestinal symptoms in endoscopic or radiological remission status. Patients completed a questionnaire regarding their subjective gastrointestinal symptoms. Participants underwent a hydrogen breath test (HBT) for SIBO, and those with positive results were recommended to take 800 mg rifaximin for 14 days.

The researchers found that nine patients (36 percent) had a positive HBT test, of whom eight were women (mean age, 48.7 years). Abdominal distention was the most common symptom, followed by abdominal discomfort (88.9 and 66.7 percent, respectively). Two of the nine patients with a positive HBT refused to take rifaximin; six of the seven patients taking reported improvement in symptoms four weeks later, and none reported adverse events.

"More than one-third of the patients with inactive intestinal BD who had were accompanied by SIBO using HBT," the authors write. "Rifaximin might be an effective and safe drug to treat these patients."