JOURNAL ARTICLE

Maintenance therapy with a probiotic in antibiotic-dependent pouchitis: experience in clinical practice

B Shen, A Brzezinski, V W Fazio, F H Remzi, J-P Achkar, A E Bennett, K Sherman, B A Lashner
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2005 October 15, 22 (8): 721-8
16197493

BACKGROUND: Management of antibiotic-dependent pouchitis is often challenging. Oral bacteriotherapy with probiotics (such as VSL #3) as maintenance treatment has been shown to be effective in relapsing pouchitis in European trials. However, this agent has not been studied in the US, and its applicability in routine clinical practice has not been evaluated.

AIM: To determine compliance and efficacy of probiotic treatment in patients with antibiotic-dependent pouchitis.

METHODS: Thirty-one patients with antibiotic-dependent pouchitis were studied. VSL #3 is a patented probiotic preparation of live freeze-dried bacteria. All patients received 2 weeks of ciprofloxacin 500 mg b.d. followed by VSL #3 6 g/day for 8 months. Baseline Pouchitis Disease Activity Index scores were calculated. Patients' symptoms were reassessed at week 3 when VSL #3 therapy was initiated and at the end of the 8-month trial. Some patients underwent repeat pouch endoscopy at the end of the trial.

RESULTS: All 31 patients responded to the 2-week ciprofloxacin trial with resolution of symptoms and they were subsequently treated with VSL #3. The mean duration of follow-up was 14.5+/-5.3 months (range: 8-26 months). At the 8-month follow-up, six patients were still on VSL #3 therapy, and the remaining 25 patients had discontinued the therapy due to either recurrence of symptoms while on treatment or development of adverse effects. All six patients who completed the 8-month course with a mean treatment period of 14.3+/-7.2 months (range: 8-26 months) had repeat clinical and endoscopic evaluation as out-patients. At the end of 8 months, these six patients had a mean Pouchitis Disease Activity Index symptom score of 0.33+/-0.52 and a mean Pouchitis Disease Activity Index endoscopy score of 1.83+/-1.72, which was not statistically different from the baseline Pouchitis Disease Activity Index endoscopy score of 2.83+/-1.17 (P=0.27).

CONCLUSION: This study was conducted to evaluate bacteriotherapy in routine care. The use of probiotics has been adopted as part of our routine clinical practice with only anecdotal evidence of efficacy. Our review of patient outcome from the treatment placebo showed that only a minority of patients with antibiotic-dependent pouchitis remained on the probiotic therapy and in symptomatic remission after 8 months.

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