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Probiotics prevent C diff diarrhoea, finds Cochrane review


Probiotic supplements can prevent diarrhoea caused by antibiotics, according to a Cochrane review.

Antibiotics disturb the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and allow other harmful bacteria like Clostridium difficile to take hold.

The so-called “good bacteria” in probiotics may offer a safe, low-cost way to help prevent C difficile-associated diarrhoea, the review authors from Canada suggest.

They looked at 23 trials involving 4,213 patients. They found probiotics taken in conjunction with antibiotics reduced the number of people who suffered diarrhoea by 64%.

Only 2% who took probiotics had diarhoea compared to nearly 6% who took placebo, they said.

“In the short-term, taking probiotics in conjunction with antibiotics appears to be a safe and effective way of preventing diarrhoea associated with Clostridium difficile infection,” said lead researcher Bradley Johnston, from the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Toronto.

“The introduction of some probiotic regimens as adjuncts to antibiotics could have an immediate impact on patient outcomes, especially in outbreak settings,” he said. “However, we still need to establish the probiotic strains and doses that provide the best results, and determine the safety of probiotics in immunocompromised patients.”



Readers' comments (4)

  • Surprise surprise .. see who has been explaining this stuff for years. Alcohol, the stuff we use to sterilise our hands of bacteria thus similarly when applied via via wine glasses wrecks gut flora necessary for the creation of all the vitamins and minerals that we require for a healthy immune system (which means less antibiotics).. additional vitamins and mineral supplements readily supplied of course via Dr Kildare's prescription pad and BigPharma's ready supply chains. Hows this for a headline.."simple non-PHd nurse discovers via closely guarded granny secret that gravy made with a little olive oil obviates millions of pounds spent on myriads of prescribed laxatives". If its an acute case make it castor oil (takes approx 10'). Much healthier, more comfortable and even contains iron and vit E, helps you live longer and takes a huge time administration burden off the drug round including less tabs to count meaning that you can get back more quickly to what you're there for (writing care plan updates). Make sure its with MDT approval though as any action must be appropriate and within wider approved practice guidelines. Research it and make the case. Dulcosate Sodium was that one capsule or two, plus daily Movicol and Senna? Gut wrenching.

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  • my family have been taking probiotic drinks for years, this is nothing new. some hospitals have been prescribing probiotic drinks for patients on antibiotics for years too.

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  • Anonymous 10.15am - we knew this was common practice. What the research has done is to provide evidence that it is beneficial - not everything that is common practice is evidence-based or beneficial.

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  • Andrew Kingsley

    The review was well constructed and seems to be the best evidence yet so is proper food for thought - however the NICE evidence review does not yet call for change in practice and it is also worth a read

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