SAN ANTONIO — In this exclusive video perspective from the American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting, Magnus Simrén, MD, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, discusses the study he presented on human milk oligosaccharides as treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.
Simrén said now that numerous studies have shown that at least a subset of patients with IBS have an altered gut microbiota, there are several efforts underway to find therapies that can restore the microbiota.
“Human milk oligosaccharides act as pre-biotics that can stimulate, for instance Bifidobacteria, and other good bacteria in the gut,” he told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. “Potentially leading to symptom improvement in IBS.”
Researchers conducted an open-label study comprising approximately 300 patients with IBS defined by Rome IV criteria. Patients received treatment for 12 weeks, and investigators followed their symptoms, the impact on quality of life and the safety profile of the therapy.
Simrén said human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) had a “pronounced” positive effect on the abnormal bowel habits in the patient population. Many patients reported normalization of stool consistency, as well as improvements to other symptoms of IBS like abdominal pain and bloating.
Although more studies are needed, Simrén said HMOs appear to be a safe and effective treatment for patients with IBS.
“The product is available,” he said. “It is safe. We didn’t have any safety concerns at all in the trial. You can safely use this compound, but with the caveat that more trials are probably needed to really confirm the positive and encouraging results.”
Palsson OS, et al. Abstract 43. Presented at: American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting; Oct. 25-30, 2019; San Antonio.
Disclosures: Simrén reports being on the advisory committee/board member at Glycom A/S.