"We hope these results will prompt physicians to consider its use.”

Evidence solidifies behind probiotic benefits for antibiotic-associated diarrhoea

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

“Probiotics can help improve the health of individual patients by preventing C. difficile while also reducing the transmission of C. difficile to other, non-infected people..."
“Probiotics can help improve the health of individual patients by preventing C. difficile while also reducing the transmission of C. difficile to other, non-infected people..."

Related tags: Clostridium difficile

The capacity of probiotics to ease diarrhoea and other problems associated with antibiotic use in some patients has received fresh backing after a review of studies conducted by University of Toronto researchers.

After scrutinising 16 studies involving with 3,403 patients, they found a significant reduction in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and C. difficile​ infection in hospital patients who used probiotics in conjunction with antibiotic treatments,a s opposed to those who only took antiobiotics.

The findings come on the heels of a systematic science review by the respected Cochrane Collaboration which arrived at the same conclusion and will be a significant boost to the probiotic sector that has had many of its health links questioned under the European Union’s strict new health claims regime.

The Cochrane review​ analysed 23 clinical trials and showed a reduction in diarrhoea of 64%.

Of the current review, lead researcher, Dr Reena Pattani, from St Michael’s Hospital at the Uni of Toronto reflected on the antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and C. difficile​ infection effects of probiotics: “These two conditions are associated with high morbidity, mortality and health care costs.”

“Antibiotics are non-specific – they target both our good and bad bacteria. And some of the good bacteria being killed off protect us from pathogens like C. difficile, a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhoea to life-threatening inflammation of the body.”

Prevalence

It is estimated about 10% of patients taking antibiotics for various reasons will develop diarrhoea as a side-effect with 15% of those classed as C. difficile​-associated diarrhoea (CDAD).

“Hospitalization is a key risk factor for acquiring ​C. difficile infection,”​ Dr Pattani said. “Probiotics can help improve the health of individual patients by preventing ​C. difficile while also reducing the transmission of ​C. difficile to other, non-infected people in the high-risk inpatient environment. We hope these results will prompt physicians to consider its use.”

In some countries like Russia and other eastern European nations, the administration of probiotics in such situations is widespread among the medical fraternity.

Dr Pattani called for further studies with larger numbers of patients as well as research that could better pinpoint which probiotic strains are the most effective, dispensed alone or in combinations as well as dosages.

Source:

Open Medicine

North America,7 June, 2013

‘Probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile infection among hospitalized patients: systematic review and meta-analysis’

Authors: Pattanu, R, Palda, V, Hwang, S, Shah, P.

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