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Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2011 Nov;4(6):365-74. doi: 10.1177/1756283X11412820.

Management of colonic diverticular disease with poorly absorbed antibiotics and other therapies.

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  • 1University of Zaragoza School of Medicine, University Hospital Lozano Blesa, Zaragoza, Spain.


Colonic diverticular disease is common in Western countries and its prevalence increases with age. The large majority of patients (80-85%) will remain entirely asymptomatic throughout their life. In symptomatic cases, most patients will have diverticulosis without inflammation while the remainder will have diverticulitis with or without complications. About 1-2% will require hospitalization and 0.5% will require surgery. Factors predicting the development of symptoms remain to be identified. However, it is generally recognized that diverticular disease is probably related to complex interactions between colon structure, intestinal motility, diet, and genetic features. Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated an association between diverticulosis and diets that are low in fiber and high in refined carbohydrates. Although the causes of symptom development are still unclear, it is thought that previous episodes of intestinal inflammation may play a role. Changes in intestinal microflora could be one of the putative mechanisms responsible for low-grade inflammation. In patients with uncomplicated diverticulosis, a diet abundant in fruit and vegetables is recommended. The current therapeutic approaches in preventing recurrence of symptoms are based on nonabsorbable antibiotics, mesalazine, and/or probiotics. Cyclic rifaximin administration seems to be an adequate approach to relieving symptoms and preventing acute diverticulitis in patients with symptomatic diverticulosis.


diverticular disease of the colon; diverticulitis; diverticulosis; mesalazine; probiotics; rifaximin

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