Objectives: Aims of the study were to assess the effects of rifaximin treatment on small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) prevalence and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Study design: Fifty (50) irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) children were consecutively enrolled. All subjects underwent lactulose hydrogen/methane breath test (LBT) to assess SIBO before and one month after the treatment with rifaximin 600 mg daily for one week. All IBS patients filled out a Visual Analogic Scale (VAS) to assess and score gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence) at baseline and one month after treatment.
Results: The prevalence of abnormal LBT in patients with IBS was 66% (33/50). LBT normalization rate was 64% (21/33). Compliance was excellent, and no relevant side-effects were observed during treatment. VAS score was significantly higher in IBS patients with abnormal LBT than SIBO negatives, and strongly improved after successful treatment.
Conclusions: Rifaximin was effective and safe in SIBO treatment and IBS symptoms improvement in childhood. Double blind placebo-controlled interventional studies are warranted to verify the real impact of SIBO on gastrointestinal symptoms in children with IBS.