Background: In a significant number of patients affected by the irritable bowel syndrome, an adverse reaction to food is proposed to be a causative factor. A diet that eliminates the offending foods is the obvious treatment for such adverse reactions. Compliance with a dietetic regimen is often poor and sometimes not completely free from risks.
Methods: Since the diarrheic type of irritable bowel syndrome seems mainly affected by food intolerance, and previous observations suggested that oral cromolyn sodium is effective in such patients, a multicenter therapeutic trial in the diarrheic type of irritable bowel syndrome was carried out in 346 of 409 patients with this disease, to evaluate the effects of oral cromolyn sodium and compare its efficacy with that of an elimination diet.
Results: Symptoms related to the irritable bowel syndrome improved in 60% of patients treated with elimination diet and in 67% of those treated with oral cromolyn sodium (1500 mg/day) for 1 month. Moreover, in both groups clinical results were significantly better in the patients positive to the skin prick test than in the negative ones.
Conclusions: These results confirm the high prevalence of adverse reactions to foods in diarrheic irritable bowel syndrome and the usefulness of cromolyn sodium treatment in these patients.