Probiotics: More Evidence of Efficacy
Published: May 31, 2013 | Updated: May 31, 2013, By Charlene Laino , Senior Writer, Gupta Guide. Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner
Probiotic supplements are a cheap, safe, and effective way to prevent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, according to a systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration.
In a case-analysis of 23 trials involving 4,213 people, prophylactic probiotics reduced the risk of C. difficile diarrhea by 64%, compared with people given no treatment or placebo, reported Bradley Johnston, MD, of The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto, and colleagues.
Specifically, the incidence of C. difficile diarrhea was 2.0% in the probiotic group compared with 5.5% in the placebo or no treatment control group (RR 0.36; 95% CI 0.26-0.51).
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that prophylaxis with probiotics confers protection against diarrhea in people taking antibiotics. That protection comes via a variety of mechanisms -- improving the microbial balance of the host, counteracting disturbances in intestinal ?ora, and reducing the risk of colonization by pathogenic bacteria, the researchers wrote.
Johnston noted that probiotics are becoming increasingly available as capsules and dairy-based food supplements in health food stores and supermarkets.