A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a multi-strain probiotic in patients with asymptomatic ulcerative colitis and Crohn

Bjarnason I1, Sission G2, Hayee B3. Inflammopharmacology. 2019 May 3. doi: 10.1007/s10787-019-00595-4. [Epub ahead of print]


Author information

Departments of Gastroenterology At King'S College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, SE59RS, UK. Ingvar.Bjarnason@nhs.net.

Darent Valley Hospital, Darent Wood Road, Dartford, Kent, UK.

Departments of Gastroenterology At King'S College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London, SE59RS, UK.


BACKGROUND: There is considerable interest in the possible importance of the gut microflora in the pathophysiology of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). Probiotics offer a potential adjuvant treatment in these patients by modifying the intestinal milieu, but reports of their efficacy are conflicting.

AIMS: To assess the efficacy of a multi-strain probiotic (Symprove™, Symprove Ltd, Farnham, United Kingdom) in quality of life issues and intestinal inflammation in patients with asymptomatic UC and CD.

METHODS: A single-centre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of adult patients with asymptomatic IBD. Patients received 4 weeks of treatment with the probiotic or placebo (1 ml/kg/day). The primary efficacy measure was the difference in change in the IBD Quality of Life Questionnaire results (QOL) between probiotic vs. placebo at week 4. Secondary outcome measures included analyses of the change in laboratory findings, including faecal calprotectin (FCAL).

RESULTS: Over 500 patients were recruited to the study and 81 and 61 patients with UC and CD, respectively were randomised and completed the study. There were no significant differences in IBD-QOL scores between placebo and the probiotic groups. Similarly, there were no significant changes observed in the laboratory data. However, the differences in FCAL between patients with UC before and after probiotics versus placebo approached statistical significance with a p value of 0.076. Post-hoc analyses showed that the FCAL levels were significantly (p < 0.015) reduced in the UC patients receiving the probiotic as opposed to placebo. No significant changes were seen in CD. No serious adverse events were observed.

CONCLUSION: This multi-strain probiotic is associated with decreased intestinal inflammation in patients with UC, but not in CD and is well tolerated. Further research is required to see if the probiotic reduces the incidence of clinical relapses in asymptomatic IBD patients.

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