Probiotics do not have beneficial effect for diarrhea

17th of August, 2013 Bookmark and Share
17th August 2013, USA ( : According to a study probiotic supplements do not hinder antibiotic linked diarrhea in elderly patients. Previous research has indicated that these supplements may curb antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD), and many institutions prescribe these as part of normal practice.

A researcher conducted the largest study so far and reveals that it may not have any such effect on elderly patients experiencing AAD. It is not totally understood how antibiotics induce diarrhea, but they are thought to agitate the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines. An infection known as Clostridium difficile is the most general cause of diarrhea, especially in AAD.

Many elderly patients over the age of 65 who consume antibiotics commonly suffer from AAD. Diarrhea can be life-threatening in the elderly, directing to malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, and formerly death.

The study recruited around 3,000 people. All participants were aged 65 and over, and had been directed one or more antibiotics. The researchers asked 50% of participants to take one capsule containing a fixed dose of live bacteria (probiotics) every day for 21 days and in between antibiotic doses. The other 50% of the patients were given an identical placebo capsule with the same dosing instruction. All patients were observed for 8-12 weeks after the courses were finished.

The researchers say that this assay meant they could pursue how many patients were experiencing AAD induced by Clostridium difficile. The results of the study showed that the patients who were recommended the probiotics saw no effect of decreased AAD, with 1 in 10 still reporting the occurrence.

The study revealed that both the groups prescribed the probiotics, and the group who took the placebo had the same frequency and severity of diarrhea. The researchers say these results infer that probiotics have no beneficial effect for AAD.

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