European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 74, Issue 5, pp 541–548 | Cite as

Efficacy of phloroglucinol for treatment of abdominal pain: a systematic review of literature and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials versus placebo

  • Clara Blanchard
  • Denis Pouchain
  • Paul Vanderkam
  • Marie-Christine Perault-Pochat
  • Rémy Boussageon
  • Hélène Vaillant-Roussel



Phloroglucinol is a musculotropic anti-spasmodic drug. It is frequently prescribed in many European countries with a considerable cost for health services. The purpose of this study was to review the existing randomised controlled trials (RCT) comparing the efficacy of phloroglucinol treating abdominal pain versus placebo.


A literature search was carried out up to May 2017 to select RCT comparing the effect of phloroglucinol versus placebo with intensity of abdominal pain as an endpoint. Studies concerning obstetric or gynaecologic-related pain were not included.


Three RCT were included and then analysed for risk of bias and meta-analysed. Only one RCT found that phloroglucinol was superior to placebo, although with a high risk of bias. The meta-analysis found a risk ratio of 1.10 (95% CI 0.95, 1.27) with no statistical significance.


There is insufficient data to justify the wide-spread prescription of phloroglucinol for alleviating abdominal pain.


Phloroglucinol Spasmolytics Randomised controlled trial Abdominal pain Evidence-based health care Meta-analysis 


Authors’ contributions

Clara Blanchard: performed the research, analysed the data and wrote the paper.

Denis Pouchain: contributed to the writing of the paper and to the analysis of the data.

Paul Vanderkam: contributed to the writing of the paper.

Marie-Christine Perrault-Pochat: contributed to the analysis of the data.

Remy Boussageon: conceived the study and analysed the data.

Hélène Vaillant-Roussel: analysed the data and contributed to the writing of the paper.

Supplementary material

228_2018_2416_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General MedicineUniversity of PoitiersPoitiers Cedex 9France
  2. 2.Department of General MedicineUniversity of ToursTours Cedex 1France
  3. 3.Clinical Pharmacology and Awareness DepartmentUniversity Hospital of PoitiersPoitiers CedexFrance
  4. 4.Department of General Medicine and UPU ACCePPTUniversity of AuvergneClermont-Ferrand Cedex 1France

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