Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth recurrence after antibiotic therapy

Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Aug;103(8):2031-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2008.02030.x.


Objectives: Current treatment for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is based on courses of broad-spectrum antibiotics. No data concerning SIBO recurrence are available. The aims of the present study were to investigate SIBO recurrence as assessed by glucose breath test (GBT) after antibiotic treatment and conditions associated to SIBO recurrence.

Methods: Eighty consecutive patients affected by SIBO and decontaminated by rifaximin (1,200 mg per day for 1 wk) were enrolled. Diagnosis of SIBO was based on GBT. GBT was reassessed at 3, 6, and 9 months after evidence of GBT normalization. GBT positivity recurrence, predisposing conditions, and gastrointestinal symptoms were evaluated.

Results: Ten (10/80, 12.6%), 22 (22/80, 27.5%), and 35 (35/80, 43.7%) patients showed positivity to GBT at 3, 6, and 9 months after successful antibiotic treatment, respectively. At multivariate analysis, older age (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.02-1.16), history of appendectomy (OR 5.9, 95% CI 1.45-24.19), and chronic use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (OR 3.52, 95% CI 1.07-11.64) were significantly associated to GBT positivity recurrence. All gastrointestinal symptoms significantly increased at 3, 6, and 9 months in patients with evidence of GBT positivity recurrence.

Conclusions: GBT positivity recurrence rate was high after antibiotic treatment. Older age, history of appendectomy, and chronic use of PPIs were associated with GBT positivity recurrence. Patients with evidence of GBT positivity recurrence showed gastrointestinal symptoms relapse thus suggesting SIBO recurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blind Loop Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Blind Loop Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Blind Loop Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Breath Tests
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Rifamycins / therapeutic use*
  • Rifaximin
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Rifamycins
  • Rifaximin