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Gut Pathog. 2014 Aug 20;6:34. doi: 10.1186/s13099-014-0034-0. eCollection 2014.

Clinical pilot study: efficacy of triple antibiotic therapy in Blastocystis positive irritable bowel syndrome patients.

Author information

1
School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland, Australia ; Toowoomba Gastroenterology Clinic, Suite 105 Medici Medical Centre, 15 Scott Street, Toowoomba 4350, Queensland, Australia.
2
School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, Queensland, Australia ; Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Australia.
3
Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Blastocystis species are common human enteric parasites. Carriage has been linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Treatment of Blastocystis spp. with antimicrobials is problematic and insensitive diagnostic methods and re-infection complicate assessment of eradication. We investigated whether triple antibiotic therapy comprising diloxanide furoate, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and secnidazole (TAB) given to diarrhoea-predominant IBS (D-IBS) patients positive for Blastocystis would achieve eradication.

METHODS:

In a longitudinal, prospective case study 10 D-IBS Blastocystis-positive patients took 14 days of diloxanide furoate 500 mg thrice daily, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole 160/80 mg twice daily and secnidazole 400 mg thrice daily. Faecal specimens were collected at baseline, day 15 and 4 weeks after completion of TAB. Specimens were analysed using faecal smear, culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) of the 16 SSU rRNA. Patients kept a concurrent clinical diary.

RESULTS:

Six (60%) patients cleared Blastocystis spp. after TAB, including three who had failed previous therapy. Subtypes detected were ST3 (60%), ST4 (40%), ST1 (20%) and ST7, 8 (10%); four patients had mixed ST infections. Serum immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels were low in 40% of patients. Higher rates of Blastocystis clearance were observed in patients symptomatic for less than a year (Mann-Whitney, p = 0.032, 95% confidence) with no associations found with age, previous antibiotic therapy, faecal parasite load, ST, IgA level or clinical improvement.

CONCLUSIONS:

Clearance of Blastocystis spp. was achieved with TAB in 60% of D-IBS patients, an improvement over conventional monotherapy. Higher clearance rates are needed to facilitate investigation of the relevance of this parasite in clinically heterogenous IBS.

KEYWORDS:

Blastocystis; Irritable bowel syndrome; PCR; Therapy

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