Objectives: To ascertain the role of antibiotics in induction and maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis (UC)
Methods: We searched electronic databases for keywords ulcerative colitis or inflammatory bowel disease and antibiotics or antimicrobials. We performed a meta-analysis of randomized trials comparing antibiotics with control/placebo for clinical response, need for second line therapy, colectomy, and adverse effects. Subgroup analysis to clarify the mode of administration, number of antibiotics or the setting of use (acute severe UC or active non–severe UC) were also performed.
Results: Thirteen trials with 785 patients were included. The pooled odds ratio of achieving clinical response with antibiotics was 1.74 (95% CI, 1.17-2.58). No differences were noted in relapse rates, need for second line therapy, colectomy or, adverse effects with the use of antibiotics. Subgroup analysis showed no differences with use of single or combination of antibiotics. Analysis of trials only in the setting of acute severe colitis did not demonstrate any benefit.
Conclusion: The use of oral antibiotics in the setting of non-severe active UC could have some benefit in clinical response. The use of antibiotics is not of benefit in acute severe colitis, but oral antibiotics need to be evaluated in adult patients.