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A pilot trial of Saccharomyces boulardii in ulcerative colitis

Guslandi, Mario; Giollo, Patrizia; Testoni, Pier Alberto

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: June 2003 - Volume 15 - Issue 6 - p 697-698
Brief report

Objectives Probiotics can be useful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. In a previous report, the non-pathogenic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii was found to be beneficial in the maintenance treatment of Crohn's disease. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of S. boulardii in ulcerative colitis patients.

Methods A group of 25 patients with a mild to moderate clinical flare-up of ulcerative colitis received additional treatment with S. boulardii 250 mg three times a day for 4 weeks during maintenance treatment with mesalazine. These patients were unsuitable for steroid therapy. Before and after treatment, Rachmilewitz's clinical activity index was calculated. The probiotic treatment was considered a therapeutic success only when the final score was lower than 6.

Results Of the 24 patients who completed the study, 17 attained clinical remission; this was confirmed endoscopically.

Conclusions Our preliminary results suggest that S. boulardii can be effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Controlled studies with this probiotic agent are warranted.

Gastroenterology Unit, S. Raffaele University Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Correspondence to Mario Guslandi MD FACG, Gastroenterology Unit, S. Raffaele University Hospital, Via Olgettina 60, 20132 Milan, Italy. Tel/fax: +39 02 2152559; e-mail:

Received 17 January 2002 Revised 9 December 2002 Accepted 11 February 2003

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.