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Pubmed-Antibiotics and Probiotics for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Drugs. 2023 May 15. doi: 10.1007/s40265-023-01871-y. Online ahead of print.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of a gut-brain interaction characterised by abdominal pain and a change in stool form or frequency. Current symptom-based definitions and the classification of IBS promote heterogeneity amongst patients, meaning that there may be several different pathophysiological abnormalities leading to similar symptoms. Although our understanding of IBS is incomplete, there are several indicators that the microbiome may be involved in a subset of patients. Techniques including a faecal sample analysis, colonic biopsies, duodenal aspirates or surrogate markers, such as breath testing, have been used to examine the gut microbiota in individuals with IBS. Because of a lack of a clear definition of what constitutes a healthy gut microbiota, and the fact that alterations in gut microbiota have only been shown to be associated with IBS, a causal relationship is yet to be established. We discuss several hypotheses as to how dysbiosis may be responsible for IBS symptoms, as well as potential treatment strategies. We review the current evidence for the use of antibiotics and probiotics to alter the microbiome in an attempt to improve IBS symptoms. Rifaximin, a non-absorbable antibiotic, is the most studied antibiotic and has now been licensed for use in IBS with diarrhoea in the USA, but the drug remains unavailable in many countries for this indication. Current evidence also suggests that certain probiotics, including Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 9843 and Bifidobacterium bifidum MIMBb75, may be efficacious in some patients with IBS. Finally, we describe the future challenges facing us in our attempt to modulate the microbiome to treat IBS.

PMID:37184752 | DOI:10.1007/s40265-023-01871-y

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