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Objective: To determine the effectiveness of probiotics in addition to traditional therapy for patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) using a systematic review. Methods: PubMed and Cochrane Library databases were queried to evaluate patient clinical trials within the past five years using the search terms probiotics and ulcerative colitis. Results: Three trials met inclusion criteria. Two of three studies found no significant improvement in their primary endpoint with probiotics. Yoshimatsu, et al. found that after one year 56.6% of the placebo group remained in remission, whereas 69.5% of the probiotic group remained in remission (p>0.05).9 Tursi, et al. found no significant difference (p= 0.069) in UC remission after 8 weeks of using probiotics.10 Palumbo, et al. did find a significant difference (p <0.05) in the UC disease activity index (UCDAI), stool frequency, intestinal mucosa, and rectal bleeding after two years of using a probiotic blend.11 Conclusion: This systematic review did not show strong evidence in support of probiotic supplementation in UC patients. However, due to trial design and limited number of patients, a potential benefit to probiotics may exist. While it appears that probiotics do not pose any additional risk to individuals with UC, until large randomized trials are performed, we cannot recommend or discourage the use of probiotics.
Berardini GC, Maloof MF. Probiotics as an adjunct treatment to standard therapy in ulcerative colitis. JMU Scholarly Commons Physician Assistant Capstones. https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/pacapstones/31/. Published December 12, 2018.