Cyclic antibiotic therapy for diverticular disease: a critical reappraisal

A Zullo, Cesare Hassan, G Maconi, G Manes, G Tammaro, V De Francesco, B Annibale, L Ficano, L Buri, G Gatto, R Lorenzetti, Sm Campo, E Ierardi, F Pace, S. Morini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Different symptoms have been attributed to uncomplicated diverticular disease (DD). Poor absorbable antibiotics are largely used for uncomplicated DD, mainly for symptom treatment and prevention of diverticulitis onset. Controlled trials on cyclic administration of rifaximin in DD patients were evaluated. Four controlled, including 1 double-blind and 3 open-label, randomized studies were available. Following a long-term cyclic therapy, a significant difference emerged in the global symptoms score (range: 0-18) between rifaximin plus fibers (from 6-6.5 to 1-2) and fibers alone (from 6.7 to 2-3.8), although the actual clinically relevance of such a very small difference remains to be ascertained. Moreover, a similar global symptom score reduction (from 6 to 2.4) can be achieved by simply recommending an inexpensive high-fiber diet. Current data suggest that cyclic rifaximin plus fibers significantly reduce the incidence of the first episode of acute diverticulitis as compared to fibers alone (1.03% vs 2.75%), but a cost-efficacy analysis is needed before this treatment can be routinely recommended. The available studies have been hampered by some limitations, and definite conclusions could not be drawn. The cost of a long-life, cyclic rifaximin therapy administered to all symptomatic DD patients would appear prohibitive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Diverticulitis
  • Diverticulum
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection
  • Rifamycins
  • Treatment Outcome


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