GAITHERSBURG, MD, June 7 As one of the few probiotics with medical food designation for specific illnesses, VSL#3 has been the subject of a collection of more than 80 studies that have demonstrated its use in the dietary management of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and an ileal pouch. Ulcerative colitis patients, in particular, have been shown to benefit from adding VSL#3 medical food to their prescription drug regimen. One particular study shows that the combination of VSL#3 and traditional drug therapy can improve remission rates over drug therapy alone by 10 to 17 percent, and can initiate remission 47 to 69 percent faster. The 8-week study*, conducted in Rome, involved 90 patients who had newly diagnosed or recently relapsed mild-to-moderate UC and compared the effects of the combination of VSL#3 and balsalazine (Colazal), an anti-inflammatory drug commonly prescribed for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, to the use of balsalazine alone and mesalazine (Canasa) alone.
The trial results concluded that the use of low-dose balsalazide and VSL#3 was significantly superior (p<0.02) in obtaining remission than just the use of balsalazide alone (10 percent improvement) and mesalazine alone (17 percent improvement). The VSL#3/balsalazine combination also initiated remission faster than the drug therapy alone with an average of 4 days versus 7.5 days (balsalazide only) and 13 days (mesalazine only). The improvement of well-being and reduction in bowel frequency was significant as well1.
"Many UC patients try a variety of methods in order to extend their time between flare-ups and obtain remission," said Mary Berry, senior product manager at Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Inc., maker of VSL#3. "By having a personalized regimen with a drug, such as balsalazide, and adding VSL#3 for their dietary management, patients can see a positive and quick remission that will work for them."
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the inner lining of the large intestine, which includes the colon and the rectum. The inflammation causes erosion of the lining of the colon, leading to bleeding, production of pus, diarrhea, and severe abdominal discomfort.
According to Berry, VSL#3 stands apart from other probiotics since it is not a supplement, but a refrigerated medical food that consists of 8 strains of live, freeze-dried lactic acid bacteria. "It is one of the few probiotic preparations supported by Level 1 (double-blind, placebo-controlled) scientific data, and is the only probiotic recognized as an effective tool in the dietary management of ileal pouch by the American College of Gastroenterology1 and by the Cochrane Review2," says Berry.
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Robin Leedy & Associates, Inc.