Unità Operativa di Pediatria, Ospedale dei Bambini “Vittore Buzzi”, Milano
Key words: Probiotics, Diarrhoea, Necrotizing enterocolitis, Chronic inflammatory diseases, RCT
Probiotics are dietary supplements made of live micro-organisms which improve the microbial environment of the gut. Out of 16 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) 11 showed positive results on the duration of the diarrhoea, although there are no data on important outcomes such as duration of hospital stay, foecal output and dehydration. 5 RCTs have evaluated the efficacy of probiotics in preventing diarrhoea in high risk patients, yielding conflicting results. The efficacy on antibiotic-related diarrhoea due to C. difficile is well documented but the effect is clinically modest. A large study on 1237 at risk newborn babies showed a 50% reduction of necrotizing enterocolitis. Studies on probiotics in chronic inflammatory diseases of the intestine have so far produced conflicting results.
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