Effect of Probiotic Use on Adverse Events in Adult Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: a Retrospective Cohort Study

  • Maria Pina DoreEmail author
  • Chiara Rocchi
  • Nunzio Pio Longo
  • Antonio Mario Scanu
  • Gianpaolo Vidili
  • Federica Padedda
  • Giovanni Mario Pes


Alterations of intestinal microflora are involved in the pathogenesis and natural history of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). Manipulation of human gut microbiota with probiotics may be a therapeutic option. In this retrospective cohort study, the benefits of probiotic use in reducing adverse events were analyzed. Data from clinical charts of IBD patients followed up for at least 36 months were retrieved. The occurrence of adverse events including the need for systemic steroids, hospitalization, and surgery related to IBD was analyzed according to age, gender, body mass index, treatments, IBD phenotype, disease duration, and probiotic use. The amount of probiotic use was calculated as the ratio of time under probiotic treatment to the disease duration starting from the date of the first probiotic administration and expressed as a percentage. Patients were stratified according to the percentage of probiotic use as ≤ 24%, 25–74%, and ≥ 75%, and the number of adverse events per patient-years was calculated. Results were adjusted for Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) by multivariate analysis including study variables. Data from 200 patients (78 CD, 122 UC; 117 females; mean age 40.6 ± 15.3 years; mean disease duration 12.1 ± 8.7 years) were available. CD patients taking probiotics for 2574% of the disease duration experienced a 64% reduction in total adverse events. The need for systemic steroids, hospitalization, and surgery dropped to zero events per person-year in UC patients and decreased by 93% (p < 0.001) in CD patients taking probiotics for ≥ 75% of the disease duration. Our findings suggest that the use of probiotics may be an additional therapeutic tool in patients with IBD.


Crohn’s disease Ulcerative colitis Systemic steroids Hospitalization Surgery Adjuvant therapy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed consent was obtained from each patient enrolled. The study was approved by the Local Ethics Committee, Comitato di Bioetica, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria di Sassari, Italy (Prot. No. 2476/CE.), and the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki guidelines were followed.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgical and Experimental Medical SciencesUniversity of SassariSassariItaly
  2. 2.Baylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Clinica MedicaSassariItaly

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