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Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2010; 32: 1000–1006

Summary

Background  Abnormal intestinal clearance is involved in the pathogenesis of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). It is known that partially hydrolysed guar gum affects intestinal motility. Eradication therapy of SIBO is based on antibiotic treatment: no data are available on the role of fibre supplementation in eradicating SIBO.

Aim  To assess whether the combination of partially hydrolysed guar gum and rifaximin is more effective than rifaximin alone in the treatment of SIBO.

Methods  A 50 g-glucose breath test was given to 500 consecutive patients. Patients with a positive glucose breath test and predisposing conditions to SIBO entered into the study, and were randomized to receive rifaximin 1200 mg/day or rifaximin 1200 mg/day plus partially hydrolysed guar gum 5 g/day for 10 days. Patients completed a symptom questionnaire and glucose breath test both in basal condition and 1 month after withdrawal of therapy.

Results  Seventy-seven patients had SIBO. Eradication rate of SIBO was 62.1% in the rifaximin group (both on per-protocol and intention-to-treat analyses), and 87.1% (per-protocol, = 0.017) and 85.0% (intention-to-treat, = 0.036) in the rifaximin-plus-partially hydrolysed guar gum group. Clinical improvement was observed in 86.9% and 91.1% of eradicated cases in rifaximin and rifaximin-plus-partially hydrolysed guar gum groups respectively (= 0.677).

Conclusion  The combination of rifaximin with partially hydrolysed guar gum seems to be more useful in eradicating SIBO compared with rifaximin alone.