Management of Diverticular Disease

Suzanne Albrecht, PharmD, MSLIS


US Pharmacist 

In This Article


Diverticulitis (inflammation of diverticula) is a painful condition that results in high morbidity and even mortality. Uncomplicated diverticulitis can sometimes be managed on an outpatient basis with dietary restrictions and antibiotics. Complicated diverticulitis, and some cases of uncomplicated diverticulitis, require hospitalization. Patients need to be placed on bowel rest and must be given IV fluids and antibiotics.

A high-fiber diet can alleviate symptoms of diverticular disease (diverticulosis and diverticulitis) and prevent recurrence of acute diverticulitis. A growing body of evidence suggests that mesalamine with rifamixin may also be used as maintenance therapy to alleviate symptoms. There is even some talk of probiotics being beneficial in diverticular disease, though more studies must be done to confirm this.

The pharmacist can be of great value to the patient with diverticular disease. The pharmacist can counsel him or her on appropriate dietary changes, as well as ensure that the proper antibiotics are being used. The pharmacist can also help the patient select appropriate sources of fiber and, possibly in the future, probiotics. Finally, the pharmacist can stress to the patient the importance of medication compliance and offer alternatives to the physician if the patient cannot tolerate a regimen.


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