Aloe barbadensis Mill. extract improves symptoms in IBS patients with diarrhoea: post hoc analysis of two randomized double-blind controlled studies

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2021 Oct 8:14:17562848211048133. doi: 10.1177/17562848211048133. eCollection 2021.


Background: Aloe barbadensis Mill. (Aloe) extract was found to be well-tolerated, safe and showed beneficial effects in subsets of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients in two randomized, double-blind, controlled studies. However, the individual studies were underpowered to perform subgroup analyses. We therefore determined the effect of Aloe extract in IBS subgroups in a post hoc analysis combining the results from the two studies.

Methods: Data from the two controlled studies comparing Aloe and control treatment taken orally for 4 weeks, were pooled. Both studies included IBS patients fulfilling the ROME III criteria and IBS Symptom Severity Score (IBS-SSS) was assessed. We analysed the effect of Aloe extract on IBS symptom severity and the proportion of responders (IBS-SSS reduction ⩾ 50) in IBS subgroups.

Results: In total, 213 IBS patients were included in the post hoc subgroup analyses. A reduction in overall symptom severity, primarily driven by effect on pain severity and frequency, comparing baseline versus end of treatment, was recorded in IBS patients with diarrhoea (IBS-D) receiving Aloe (n = 38, p < 0.001) but not control treatment (n = 33, p = 0.33), with difference between the treatment groups (p = 0.01). Moreover, the frequency of responders was higher in IBS-D patients receiving Aloe (n = 22, 58%) compared to control treatment (n = 10, 30%) (p = 0.02). The effect of Aloe extract treatment on IBS symptom severity was not superior to control treatment in the other IBS subtypes.

Conclusion: Aloe extract improves symptom severity in IBS-D patients and can be regarded as a safe and effective treatment option for this patient group.

Keywords: Aloe extract; IBS-D; diarrhoea; gastrointestinal symptoms; irritable bowel syndrome.