Efficacy of Oral Psyllium in Pediatric Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Double-Blind Randomized Control Trial

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2023 Jan 1;76(1):14-19. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000003622. Epub 2022 Sep 22.


Objective: Pediatric irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder with variable response to various therapeutic agents. Psyllium has been proven to be effective in adults; however, there is no study in children. The objective of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of psyllium husk as compared to placebo in pediatric IBS patients.

Methods: In this double-blind randomized controlled trial, 43 children were assigned to psyllium arm (Group A) and 38 into placebo arm (Group B). Severity is assessed at baseline and after 4 weeks of treatment using IBS severity scoring scale (IBS-SSS) and classified into mild, moderate, and severe categories. Categorical data was compared with chi-square test and paired categorical variable was compared with McNemer test.

Results: Mean ages (±SD; in years) of Groups A and B were 9.87 (2.7) and 9.82 (3.17), respectively, with median duration of illness of 12 months. At baseline, type, severity, and parameters (IBS-SSS) of IBS were equally distributed in 2 groups. There was a significant reduction in median interquartile range (IQR) of total IBS-SSS in psyllium versus placebo [75 (42.5-140) vs 225 (185-270); P < 0.001] at 4 weeks. Similarly 43.9% in Group A versus 9.7% in Group B attained remission [IBS-SSS < 75 ( P < 0.0001)]. The mean difference in IBS-SSS between Group A and Group B was -122.85 with risk ratio of 0.64 (95% CI; 0.42-0.83; P = 0.001) and absolute risk reduction of 32% (NNT = 3).

Conclusions: Psyllium husk is effective for the therapy of pediatric IBS when compared with placebo in short term.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome* / complications
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Psyllium* / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Psyllium