While rifaximin was able to improve symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in phase III trials, these results are yet to be repeated in phase IV studies.
Dr Schoepfer and colleagues from Switzerland evaluated the treatment response to rifaximin in IBS patients in a phase IV trial.
IBS patients underwent lactulose hydrogen breath testing.
Lactulose hydrogen breath testing-positive patients were treated with rifaximin for 14 days.
|Rifaximin provided improvement of bloating|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Prior to treatment as well as at week 4 and 14 following the start of rifaximin treatment, patients completed a questionnaire assessing symptom severity on a Likert scale from 0 to 10.
The team found that 71% of IBS patients were lactulose hydrogen breath testing-positive, and treated with rifaximin.
As assessed at week 4 following commencement of the therapy, rifaximin provided significant improvement of IBS-associated symptoms, including bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Overall well-being also significantly improved.
Similar improvements in IBS symptoms were obtained at week 14.
The researchers found that 86% of patients undergoing repetitive lactulose hydrogen breath testing tested negative at week 4.
Dr Schoepfer's team concludes, "We found a high percentage of lactulose hydrogen breath testing-positive IBS patients. IBS-associated symptoms were improved for a period of 3 months following 2 weeks of treatment with rifaximin."
"We conclude that rifaximin treatment alleviates symptoms in lactulose hydrogen breath testing-positive IBS patients."