InfectionPre, Pro, Synbiotics

Probiotics prevent diarrhea during antibiotic treatment

A probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus reduced the incidence of diarrhea caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile in older hospitalized patients who were receiving antibiotics.

First the details.

  • 135 elderly hospital patients were taking antibiotics.
  • Some were randomly assigned to drink 100 g (97 mL, about 3 ounces) of a probiotic yogurt drink (Actimel, Danone, France) containing Lactobacillus casei, S thermophilus, and L bulgaricus twice a day while taking antibiotics, and for one week following antibiotic therapy.
  • The rest received a sterile milkshake.

And, the results.

  • 12% of the probiotic group developed diarrhea associated with antibiotic use
  • This was significantly less than the 34% in the placebo group.
  • No one in the probiotic group, but 17% of the placebo-treated patients had diarrhea caused by C difficile.

The bottom line?
In people over 50 years of age, these results support taking this probiotic product whenever antibiotics are given. The researchers concluded: “This has the potential to decrease morbidity, healthcare costs, and mortality.”

The accumulating information on probiotics show the mix of probiotics used, the condition being treated, and the type of patient influence the response. For example, in children, there is insufficient evidence to recommend probiotics routinely, but Lactobacillus GG Saccharomyces boulardii appear to be the most effective.

In an earlier entry, there was reportedly potential benefit when probiotics were used to prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea, as well as…

  • Rotavirus-induced diarrhea
  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome

Lots more info is here.

6/30/07 15:11 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.