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Updated 14 February 2013

Diarrhoea and antibiotics

Probiotics are effective in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, research shows. However, the efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of diarrhoea needs to be confirmed.

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It is a well known fact that antibiotic therapy affects the composition of the gut flora.

The efficacy of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of diarrhoea associated with the use of antibiotics was assessed in a meta-analysis by D’Souza et al. (2002) and, more recently, in a study conducted by Lionetti et al. in children receiving antibiotics for the eradication of Helicobacter pylori.

Researchers concluded that probiotics are effective in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. However, the efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of diarrhoea needs to be confirmed.

It is suggested that probiotics should be administered concurrently with antibiotics and that supplementation should continue for a few days subsequent to completing the course of antibiotics.

Prof. Bengt Björkstén MD, PhD
Prof.em. of Paediatrics and Allergy prevention
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
 
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