Dr Alexander Ford and colleagues from Canada determined the effect of fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The research team conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
The researchers evaluated Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane controlled trials register up to 2008.
Randomized controlled trials comparing fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil with placebo or no treatment in adults with irritable bowel syndrome were eligible for inclusion.
|22 trials compared antispasmodics with placebo in 1778 patients|
|British Medical Journal|
The minimum duration of therapy considered was 1 week.
Studies had to report either a global assessment of cure or improvement in symptoms, or cure of or improvement in abdominal pain, after treatment.
The research team used a random effects model to pool data on symptoms.
The effect of therapy compared with placebo or no treatment was reported as the relative risk of symptoms.
The team identfied 12 studies that compared fibre with placebo or no treatment in 591 patients.
This effect was limited to ispaghula.
The team identified 22 trials that compared antispasmodics with placebo in 1778 patients.
Various antispasmodics were studied, but otilonium and hyoscine showed consistent evidence of efficacy.
The researchers found 4 trials that compared peppermint oil with placebo in 392 patients.
Dr Ford’s team commented, “Fibre, antispasmodics, and peppermint oil were all more effective than placebo in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.”