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Probiotics in the Management of Ulcerative Colitis

Chibbar, Richa MD; Dieleman, Levinus A. MD, PhD

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: November/December 2015 - Volume 49 - Issue - p S50–S55
doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000368

Rapid progress has been made to understand the pathophysiology of inflammatory bowel diseases and to identify new treatments. Interaction of the gut microbiota on the host inflammatory response has suggested that alternative therapies, such as probiotics, might have a complementary role in treating and preventing disease flares. Multiple probiotics and their formulations have been studied for both the induction and maintenance of remission of ulcerative colitis (UC); however, mainly Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 and VSL#3 have been shown to provide significant benefits for the prevention and treatment of mild to moderate UC. Although these data are promising, there is still a paucity of robust, randomized-controlled trials to suggest that probiotics be utilized as part of a standard treatment regimen. With continued research and a movement toward carefully selected, individualized management based on an individual’s specific microbiota composition and function, probiotics may become an integral part of tailored therapy for UC.

Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

Reprints: Levinus A. Dieleman, MD, PhD, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta, 130 University Campus, 2-24 Zeidler Ledcor Bldg, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2×8 (e-mail:

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