JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

VSL#3 probiotic mixture: a review of its use in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases

Therese M Chapman, Greg L Plosker, David P Figgitt
Drugs 2006, 66 (10): 1371-87
16903771
VSL#3 (VSL#3) is a high-concentration probiotic preparation of eight live freeze-dried bacterial species that are normal components of the human gastrointestinal microflora, including four strains of lactobacilli (Lactobacillus casei, L. plantarum, L. acidophilus and L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus), three strains of bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium longum, B. breve and B. infantis) and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus. Data from noncomparative trials suggest that VSL#3 has clinical potential in the treatment of active mild to moderate ulcerative colitis and as maintenance therapy for patients with ulcerative colitis in remission. In addition, a randomised, open-label, multicentre trial showed that VSL#3 in combination with low-dose balsalazide (a prodrug of mesalazine [mesalamine; 5-aminosalicylic acid]) was more effective than standard doses of basalazide or mesalazine monotherapy in the treatment of acute mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have shown VSL#3 is effective in preventing the onset of acute pouchitis in patients with newly formed surgical pouches, and in maintaining remission following antibacterial treatment of acute pouchitis in patients with a history of refractory or recurrent pouchitis. Treatment guidelines from the US and the UK include VSL#3 as a therapeutic option for the prevention of pouchitis relapse in patients with chronic pouchitis. In general, VSL#3 was well tolerated in clinical trials. Large, well designed, controlled confirmatory clinical trials will further determine the place of VSL#3 in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

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