The lactulose breath test for diagnosing SIBO in IBS patients: another nail in the coffin

Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Apr;103(4):964-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2008.01798.x. Epub 2008 Mar 26.


The findings of the lactulose breath test in irritable bowel syndrome patients have been used to suggest that most patients have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), and this association has spawned the widespread use of antibiotics in IBS. The study by Bratten and colleagues demonstrates that this test does not discriminate between IBS patients and healthy controls when criteria from recent clinical IBS studies are applied. When the findings from this large study are combined with previous smaller studies, they challenge the hypothesis that SIBO underlies the symptoms of IBS and undermine the current rationale for the use of antibiotics in IBS.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breath Tests / methods*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Lactulose*
  • Male


  • Lactulose