The effect of probiotics in symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease of the colon has not been followed.
Treatment (T1) with an intestinal antimicrobial (dichlorchinolinol) and absorbent (active coal tablets) was compared with the same set-up supplemented with non-pathogenic Escherichia coli (T2) in a prospective open trial.
The study was performed at the outpatient department of a tertiary centre.
Fifteen subjects (5 males, 10 females) aged 68–91 years (average 74.8 years) presented with abdominal pain, irregular defecation, bloating and excessive flatulence. Diagnosis was established with colonoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, or both.
The T1 regimen was administered for 1 week. In the T2 regimen, the application of E. coli strain Nissle (Mutaflor capsules, 2.5 × 1010 viable bacteria/capsule) followed immediately after T1 for an average of 5.2 weeks.
Main outcome measures
The lengths of two successive remissions with the T1 set-up were compared with the length of remission after T2. The intensity of symptoms before and after administration of the probiotic was also evaluated.
The lengths of two successive remissions after T1 amounted to 2.66 and 2.20 months (average 2.43 months). The average length of remission after T2 was 14.1 months (P< 0.001). All symptoms after T2 decreased significantly (P< 0.001).
Non-pathogenic E. coli strain Nissle significantly prolonged the remission period and improved the abdominal syndrome in symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease. A randomized, placebo-controlled study is recommended.