Probiotic drinks can help reduce diarrhoea associated with antibiotics

Drinks containing probiotic bacteria can help reduce diarrhoea among older people, which may reduce length of stay in hospital and save the NHS money, say Imperial College researchers at Hammersmith Hospital in a study published on today.

Between 5% and 25% of patients experience diarrhoea, including Clostridium difficile associated diarrhoea, as a complication of treatment with antibiotics.

Drinks were given twice a day, within 48 hours of the people starting antibiotic therapy and continued for one week after the antibiotics were stopped. The people were also contacted for follow up four weeks later.

Of the 113 patients who were able to be contacted for follow-up, results showed the group taking probiotic drinks fared much better. Only 12% of those people developed antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, compared to 34% of the other group.

Of the probiotic group of patients, none developed C.difficile associated diarrhoea, compared to 17% of people in the other group

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