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GAZZETTA MEDICA ITALIANA ARCHIVIO PER LE SCIENZE MEDICHE

A Journal on Internal Medicine and Pharmacology


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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2005 April;164(2):119-26

language: Italian

Efficacy of peppermint oil in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized, controlled trial

Capanni M., Surrenti E., Biagini M. R., Milani S., Surrenti C., Galli A.

Unità di Gastroenterologia, Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Clinica, Università di Firenze, Firenze


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Aim. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastroenteric, functional disease, characterized by abdominal pain, meteorism, and bowel habit alterations. A possible treatment is peppermint oil, having carminative and antispasmodic properties. We aimed to analyse the efficacy of enteric-coated peppermint oil formulation (Mintoil) in a randomized, controlled, double-blind study.
Methods. We enrolled 178 consecutive patients affected by IBS, according to the Rome II diagnostic criteria. They were randomized by computer-generated lists to receive either Mintoil 2 capsules t.i.d. before meals for 3 months, or a placebo. A validated questionnaire was administered every 3 weeks to measure the outcome. Data were analysed by χ2 test.
Results. Ninety-one patients (22 M, 69 F; mean age 41 yrs; range 18-72 yrs) received Mintoil, and 87 patients (23 M, 64 F; mean age 44 yrs; range 21-74 yrs) assumed the placebo. Three patients withdrew from the study because of non IBS-related diseases, and two patients because of pyrosis. No other adverse events were recorded. Peppermint oil, compared to placebo, improved IBS overall symptoms in 73/91 (80%) vs 31/87 (36%) patients (p<0.02). Particularly, significant improvements were achieved for gastroenteric symptoms, in 88/91 (97%) vs 29/87 (33%) patients (p<0.01), psychical discomfort, in 34/91 (37%) vs 16/87 (18%) patients (p<0.05), and socio-familiar impact, in 69/91 (76%) vs 37/87 (43%) patients (p<0.04).
Conclusion. Three-month therapy by Mintoil is effective and safe in patients with IBS. The proven questionnaire is useful for monitoring gastroenteric symptoms and quality of life.

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