Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

, Volume 51, Issue 12, pp 1775–1780

Efficacy of Probiotics in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials

  • Shekoufeh Nikfar
  • Roja Rahimi
  • Fatemeh Rahimi
  • Saeed Derakhshani
  • Mohammad Abdollahi
Original Contribution

DOI: 10.1007/s10350-008-9335-z

Cite this article as:
Nikfar, S., Rahimi, R., Rahimi, F. et al. Dis Colon Rectum (2008) 51: 1775. doi:10.1007/s10350-008-9335-z



This study was designed to evaluate whether probiotics improve symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.


PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for studies that investigated the efficacy of probiotics in the management of irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical improvement was the key outcome of interest. Data were searched within the time period of 1966 through September 2007.


Eight randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trials met our criteria and were included in the analysis. Pooling of eight trials for the outcome of clinical improvement yielded a significant relative risk of 1.22 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.07–1.4; P = 0.0042).


Probiotics may improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and can be used as supplement to standard therapy.

Key words

Probiotics Irritable bowel syndrome Meta-analysis Clinical improvement 

Copyright information

© The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shekoufeh Nikfar
    • 1
  • Roja Rahimi
    • 2
  • Fatemeh Rahimi
    • 2
  • Saeed Derakhshani
    • 3
  • Mohammad Abdollahi
    • 4
  1. 1.Drug Selecting Committee, Food and Drug Organization, Food & Drug Laboratory Research CenterMinistry of Health & Medical EducationTehranIran
  2. 2.Pharmaceutical Sciences Research CenterTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Baharan Colorectal Surgical CenterTehranIran
  4. 4.Faculty of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences Research CenterTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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