Objectives: Probiotics can be useful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. In a previous report, the non-pathogenic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii was found to be beneficial in the maintenance treatment of Crohn's disease. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of S. boulardii in ulcerative colitis patients.
Methods: A group of 25 patients with a mild to moderate clinical flare-up of ulcerative colitis received additional treatment with S. boulardii 250 mg three times a day for 4 weeks during maintenance treatment with mesalazine. These patients were unsuitable for steroid therapy. Before and after treatment, Rachmilewitz's clinical activity index was calculated. The probiotic treatment was considered a therapeutic success only when the final score was lower than 6.
Results: Of the 24 patients who completed the study, 17 attained clinical remission; this was confirmed endoscopically.
Conclusions: Our preliminary results suggest that S. boulardii can be effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Controlled studies with this probiotic agent are warranted.