Health Questions and Answers

Question: Is lactobacilli-fermented milk effective and safe in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea?

Answer:

Yes. The daily administration of a lactobacilli-fermented milk was safe and effective in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in hospitalized patients.

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea is an important problem in hospitalized patients. The use of probiotics is gaining interest in the scientific community as a potential measure to prevent this complication. The authors assessed the efficacy and safety of a fermented milk combining Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei that is widely available in Canada, in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. They did a double-blind, randomized study, to hospitalized patients were randomly assigned to receive either a lactobacilli-fermented milk or a placebo on a daily basis.

Among 89 randomized patients, antibiotic-associated diarrhea occurred in seven of 44 patients (15.9%) in the lactobacilli group and in 16 of 45 patients (35.6%) in the placebo group (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.125 to 0.944; P=0.05). The median hospitalization duration was eight days in the lactobacilli group, compared with 10 days in the placebo group (P=0.09). Overall, the lactobacilli-fermented milk was well tolerated.

Reference: Can J Gastroenterol. 2007 Nov;21(11):732-6

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