Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is a reversible neuropsychiatric syndrome in patients with liver disease. It was suggested that Bifidobacterium+fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) may decrease blood and brain ammonia levels.
The study was conducted to compare the efficacy of Bifidobacterium+FOS and lactulose in patients with HE.
One hundred and twenty-five patients (35 hepatitis B virus infected, 70 hepatitis C virus infected and 20 cryptogenetic cirrhosis) were enrolled in the study. Patients were randomized either to a treatment for 60 days with Bifidobacterium and FOS (group A) or into-group receiving lactulose (group B) in double-blind.
After 30 days of the study period, the Bifidobacterium+FOS-treated patients compared with lactulose-treated patients showed a significant decrease of Trail Making Test B (TMT B) (P<0.005), and a significant increase of Symbol Digit Modalities Test (P<0.001) and Block Design Test (P<0.001).
After 60 days of the study period, the Bifidobacterium+FOS-treated patients compared with lactulose-treated patients showed a significant decrease of NH4 fasting HE1 (P<0.001), TMT A (P<0.05), TMT B (P<0.001), and a significant increase of Symbol Digit Modalities Test (P<0.001) and Block Design Test (P<0.001).
The treatment with Bifidobacterium+FOS is an alternative to the use of lactulose in patients with cirrhosis, for its usefulness in reducing blood ammonia levels and improvement of psychometric tests.
aDepartments of Senescence, Urological and Neurological Sciences
dBiochemistry, Medical Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Catania, Italy
Correspondence to Dr Mariano Malaguarnera, MD, PhD, Departments of Senescence, Urological and Neurological Sciences, Via Messina 829, Catania 95120, Italy
Tel: +39 95 7262008; fax: +39 95 7262011; e-mail: email@example.com
Received 17 April 2009 Accepted 9 July 2009