Aim: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is frequently associated with an imbalance in intestinal bacteria. To date, few studies have evaluated the efficacy and safety of probiotic administration in patients with constipation-variant IBS. A new agent recently available in clinical practice is a symbiotic consisting of a probiotic, Bifidobacterium longum W11, and the short chain oligosaccharide prebiotic Fos Actilight. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this symbiotic in patients with constipation-variant IBS.
Methods: A total of 636 patients (250 men, 386 women) diagnosed with constipation-type IBS according to the Roma II criteria were enrolled in 43 centers and received the symbiotic at a dose of 3 g/die for at least 36 days. A validated questionnaire investigating symptoms and stool frequency was administered before and after treatment.
Results: Based on patient responses to visual scale items, frequency increased significantly after treatment in the ''no symptom'' class from 3% to 26.7% for bloating and from 8.4% to 44.1% for abdominal pain (P<0.0001). In the more severe symptoms classes (moderate-severe), symptom frequency dropped significantly from 62.9% to 9.6% and from 38.8% to 4.1% for bloating and abdominal pain, respectively. Stool frequency significantly increased from 2.9+/-1.6 times/week to 4.1+/-1.6 times/ week.
Conclusions: The study product can increase stool frequency in patients with constipation-variant IBS and reduce abdominal pain and bloating in those with moderate-severe symptoms.