Prophylactic Probiotics Reduce Clostridium difficile-associated Diarrhea in Patients Taking Antibiotics

Posted By News On November 12, 2012 - 10:30pm

Prophylactic use of probiotics can reduce Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD).

Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. CDAD most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms thought to counteract disturbances in intestinal flora, and thereby reduce the risk of Clostridium difficile infection.

Probiotics are inexpensive and readily available in capsules and dairy-based food supplements, making them an attractive option for the prevention of CDAD. Researchers reviewed 20 published randomized trials to assess the efficacy and safety of probiotics (any strain or dose) for the prevention of CDAD in adults and children receiving antibiotics.

The evidence suggests that prophylactic use of probiotics reduces the incidence of CDAD in adults and children without risk for serious adverse events.

These, like all other studies are not an endorsement of all probiotics. Only select and very specific probiotics have been shown to be effective (for any health outcome). Just like not all medications are safe and effective, not all probiotics are either. Specificity is key (brand, potency, strains, delivery form).

One again, we are hearing that something may be effective but we're not told what exactly. For every probiotic evaluated in a clinical study, hundreds more go untested.

A recent study review by johnson et al published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (IJID 1504) identified studies using Bio-K+ as being the ones with the best results for the primary prevention of C.difficile (as opposed to reccurent C.difficile)

"Bio-K+ as being the ones with the best results for the primary prevention of C.difficile (as opposed to reccurent C.difficile)"

Please elaborate, what do you mean by: "as opposed to recurrent C.difficile"?

Thanks much.

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