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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Probiotics fail to counter antibiotics - study

Thursday August 8th, 2013

Many benefits have been claimed for so-called "probiotic" yoghurts - but a new study says they are not effective at counteracting some of the side-effects of antibiotics.

The yoghurts are said to contain "healthy" bacteria and it has been thought they might help replace colonies of organisms in the gut destroyed by drug treatments.

The latest study says they do not prevent the diarrhoea that elderly patients may suffer after taking antibiotics.

A major study at Swansea University, Wales, UK, involved nearly 3,000 patients in five hospitals in south Wales and north-east England.

About 10% of patients suffered from antibiotic-linked diarrhoea, regardless of whether they took probiotics or not.

And there was also no evidence that the supplements could reduce the rates of C.difficile infection, a problem which causes especially severe diarrhoea, the researchers report in The Lancet.

Researcher Professor Stephen Allen said it was possible that different mixes of bacteria in probiotics might have a different effect.

But he said: "Our study is by far the largest trial so far to assess the effects on antibiotic-associated diarrhoea of so-called probiotics - which might better be termed microbial preparations, given the uncertainty over whether they are indeed beneficial to health - and the results do not support the use of these preparations to reduce rates of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in older inpatients."

Lancet 8 August 2013 [abstract]

Tags: Alternative Therapy | Diet & Food | Elderly Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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