Background: Pouchitis is a common complication in patients undergoing restorative proctocolectomy for ulcerative colitis. Therapeutic attempts include manipulations of pouch flora composition. In this systematic review, we aimed to score the evidence supporting the use of probiotics and prebiotics in pouchitis patients, to clarify the place of these treatments in current therapeutic regimens.
Methods: We conducted extensive electronic searches of the PubMed and SCOPUS databases, from their earliest records through Nov 2016, for MESH terms “probiotics” and “pouchitis”.
Results: The electronic search retrieved 20 citations [1–20]. Six published RCTs [2,3,9,10,13,14] and a RCT presented as an abstract  evaluated clinical, endoscopic end/or histological effect of probiotics as a primary outcome; other reports ranged in level of evidence between meta-analyses [16–19] (4), open-labeled trials [1,4–8,11,15] (8) and letters  (1).
Conclusions:Prevention of onset of pouchitis/Primary prevention. Three studies examined the ability of various probiotic regimens to prevent the onset of pouchitis after the restorative proctocolectomy [1–3]. Primary preventive effect of VSL#3 was indicated by a single RCT, with calculated effect ratio of 1.50 [1.02, 2.21] .
Treatment of acute episode. Seven – mostly open-labeled and uncontrolled – trials examined the use of probiotics for treatment of acute pouchitis episode [4–10]. Efficacy of probiotics in acute episodes of pouchitis needs to be proved in randomized controlled trials.
Seven studies aimed to determine the efficacy of probiotic strains in preventing recurrences in patients with previous episode/s of pouchitis [4,9,11–15]. Probiotic mixture VSL#3 effectively prevents relapses after successful antibiotic treatment of active inflammation, with calculated effect ratio of 20.24 [4.28, 95.81] . Side effects may affect the adherence of the patients with the long-term treatment [15,16].
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