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.