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Drugs Today (Barc). 2005 Jul;41(7):453-9.

Probiotics (VSL#3) in arthralgia in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease: a pilot study.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunogenetics, VUmc, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


Arthralgia is a common extraintestinal manifestation of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Alterations of the immunologic regulation in the gut may contribute to the pathogenesis of arthralgia. Probiotics (VSL#3) have proven effective in the treatment of pouchitis in patients with ileal pouch anal anastomosis after panproctocolectomy for ulcerative colitis both in maintaining remission and in preventing a flare-up without side effects. The aim of this study was to determine the safety and efficacy of VSL#3 in patients with quiescent IBD who suffered from arthralgia for more than two weeks. An open-label trial was conducted using VSL#3. Pre- and post-treatment joint pain intensity were measured on the Ritchie Articular Index and visual analog scale. Disease activity of the bowel was assessed by the Truelove-Witts and the Harvey-Bradshaw scores. Sixteen of 29 patients completed the trial; in 10 of the 16 patients a statistically significant improvement was documented by the Ritchie Articular Index. No one of the patients had a relapse of intestinal disease while on probiotics. These preliminary results suggest that the probiotic mixture VSL#3 may be an alternative treatment for arthralgia in patients with IBD without inducing exacerbation of the disease. Because probiotics may be effective in the treatment of IBD as well, our results suggest that patients with active disease and arthralgia may also derive benefit from this treatment. Proper randomized controlled studies are indicated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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