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Probiotics Effective in preventing Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhoea

June 2012


A latest study has shown that probiotics is useful as an adjunct treatment in reducing the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

The use of antibiotics that disturb the gastrointestinal flora is associated with clinical symptoms such as diarrhea, which occurs in as many as 30% of patients, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is one of the main reasons for non-adherence with antibiotic treatment.

Probiotics are live microorganisms intended to confer a health benefit when consumed. There is an increasing interest in probiotic interventions, and evidence for the effectiveness of probiotics in preventing or treating AAD is also increasing. To evaluate the evidence for probiotic use in the prevention and treatment of AAD, a recent meta-analysis reviewed 63 randomized controlled trials of probiotics for the prevention or treatment of AAD, which included a total of 11 811 participants.

The study reported that using probiotics as an adjunct therapy significantly reduces the risk of AAD. The result was consistent across a number of subgroup based on participant age: children (0-17 years), adults (18-65 years), and elderly adults (>65 years).

This latest study provided insight into whether probiotics should be used alongside antibiotics. Australian health experts in infectious disease believe that probiotics should be made more available for the prevention and management of AAD – a massive public health problem in Australia. However the study authors cautioned that more research is needed to determine which probiotics are associated with the greatest efficacy and for which patients receiving which specific antibiotics.

Susanne Hempel et al; JAMA. 2012; 307(18):1959-1969

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