Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) due to traveler’s diarrhea is the second most common illness seen in post-travel clinics, yet its optimal management remains unknown. We performed a systematic review to evaluate treatment efficacy in PI-IBS.
We searched Medline, EMBASE, LILACS, CINAHL, CAB abstracts, and the Cochrane Library to February 3, 2014 for intervention studies of the pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic management of PI-IBS and examined the evidence according to a modified Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) scale.
Of 336 records, 9 studies were included. Eight studies of pharmacologic interventions examined 5 agents (mesalazine or mesalamine, ondansetron, prednisolone, cholestyramine, and metronidazole). One study examined the non-pharmacologic intervention of different infant nutritional formulas following acute gastroenteritis. The quality of the evidence to date was low, with small sample size (fewer than 50 participants) and short duration of follow-up. Overall, the efficacy of pharmacological treatment ranged from no benefit (ondansetron and prednisolone) to moderately beneficial (cholestyramine and metronidazole). The evidence for mesalazine was equivocal: one study showed benefit, two others showed none.
Heterogeneity in outcome measures and low strength of evidence preclude recommendations on the optimal management of PI-IBS by a specific agent. More comparative intervention research into PI-IBS treatment is needed for consistent best practice in PI-IBS management. Clinicians may elect to pursue therapeutic trials of mesalazine, cholestyramine, or metronidazole in individual patients, but should be aware that data supporting the efficacy of these agents is limited.||