Some encouraging new research has found that patients at risk of Clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea (CDAD), have a 66% lower rate of infection when receiving prophylactic, or preventative probiotic treatment.

A meta- analysis of 20 trials revealed that there was a clear association between probiotic use and a decreased risk of developing CDAD. There was a 75% reduction in diarrhoea related to C.difficile in those who received a multi- strain probiotic supplement, whilst those receiving a single- strain probiotic experienced a 50% risk reduction.

The systematic review and meta analysis only evaluated randomised controlled trials of both adults and children who were taking antibiotics and who also received any dose of a pre-specified probiotic strain. The total number of patients across all trials was 3818 and all but two trials were placebo controlled. It was concluded that prophylactic probiotic use results in a large reduction in CDAD without increasing clinically significant adverse events.

Reference: Johnston BC, et al "Probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis" Ann Intern Med 2012; epub.

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