Internal Medicine
Online ISSN : 1349-7235
Print ISSN : 0918-2918
Therapeutic Effects of Lactobacillus in Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Meta-analysis
Bian TiequnChao GuanqunZhang Shuo
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2015 Volume 54 Issue 3 Pages 243-249


Objective As the lack of reliable treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) prompts interest in the development of new therapies, we aimed to systematically evaluate the effect of Lactobacillus in treating this disease.
Methods We searched MEDLIINE, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for the period from 1966 to August 2013 for double-blind, placebo-controlled trials investigating the efficacy of Lactobacillus treatment in the management of IBS. The studies were screened for inclusion based on randomization, controls and reported measurable outcomes. We used the Jadad score to assess the quality of the articles. The STATA 11.0 and Revman 5.0 software packages were used for the meta-analysis. The STATA 11.0 software program was also used to assess indicators of publication bias according to Begg's and Egger's tests.
Results Six randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials met the criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. The Jadad score of the articles was >3, and three articles were of high quality. We analyzed the heterogeneity of the studies and found no heterogeneity in the meta-analysis. In the forest plot, the diamond was on the right side of the vertical line and did not intersect with the line. The pooled relative risk for clinical improvement with Lactobacillus treatment was 7.69 (95% confidence interval: 2.33-25.43, p=0.0008). For adults, the pooled relative risk for clinical improvement with Lactobacillus treatment was 17.62 (95% confidence interval: 5.12-60.65, p<0.00001). For children, the pooled relative risk for clinical improvement with Lactobacillus treatment was 3.71 (95% confidence interval:1.05-13.11, p=0.04). Using the STATA 10.0 and Revman 5.0 software programs, we confirmed that Lactobacillus exhibited significant efficacy in treating IBS.
Conclusion Compared with the placebo, Lactobacillus treatment was found to be associated with a significantly higher rate of treatment responders in the overall population with IBS, without any side effects. As to limitations of the analysis, additional research is needed.

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© 2015 by The Japanese Society of Internal Medicine
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