Background/aims: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of Aloe vera (AV) in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Methods: We searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases for studies dated between 1st January 1960 and 30th December 2017. Eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) compared AV to placebo in patients with IBS. The primary outcome was standardized mean difference of the change in severity of IBS symptoms as measured by patient-rated scales. Secondary outcomes included response rate of IBS symptoms and adverse events. Heterogeneity among studies was assessed using Cochrane's Q and I2 statistics.
Results: Three RCTs with a total of 151 patients with IBS were included. The meta-analysis showed a significant difference for patients with AV compared to those with placebo regarding improvement in IBS symptom score (standardized mean difference, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.07-0.75; P = 0.020). Using intention-to-treat analysis, the AV patients showed significantly better response rates of IBS symptoms compared to placebo (pooled risk ratio, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.05-2.73; P = 0.030). No adverse events related with AV were found in included studies. There was no significant heterogeneity of effects across studies (P = 0.900; I2 = 0%).
Conclusion: AV is effective and safe for the treatment of patients with IBS compared to placebo.
Keywords: Aloe; Irritable bowel syndrome; Meta-analysis; Review.