Objective: To evaluate whether probiotics maintain remission in patients with Crohn's disease (CD).
Design: A meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials.
Methods: PUBMED and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for clinical trial studies investigated the efficacy of probiotics for the maintenance of remission in Crohn's disease. Clinical relapse and endoscopic relapse were the key outcomes of interest. Data were searched within the time period of 1966 through May 2007.
Result: Eight randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials met our criteria and were included in the analysis. Seven determined clinical relapse and three evaluated endoscopic relapse among patients with CD received probiotics for maintenance of remission. Pooling of seven trials for the outcome of clinical relapse yielded an odds ratio of 0.92 (95% confidence interval of 0.52-1.62, P = 0.8853), a nonsignificant odds ratio. The odds ratio for three studies for the outcome of endoscopic relapse was 0.97 (95% confidence interval of 0.54-1.78, P = 0.93), a nonsignificant odds ratio.
Conclusion: This meta-analysis fails to demonstrate the efficacy of probiotics in maintaining remission and preventing clinical and endoscopic recurrence in CD. It is suggested to use probiotic preparations containing a mixture of lactobacillus with E. coli or Saccharomyces.