Recently a position paper on “Use of probiotics for management of acute gastroenteritis: a position paper by the ESPGHAN working group for probiotics and prebiotics” was published (JPGN 2014; 58: 531-39).
Two specific probiotics were recommended “strongly” but the working group describes the evidence for both as “low quality.” This strikes me as odd. The authors extensively reviewed previous studies and used the “GRADE” system to classify the quality of evidence and the category of recommendation. There were 4 categories of quality of evidence: high, moderate, low and very low. There were 2 possible recommendation categories: strong or weak.
The summary recommendations included the following:
- Rehydration is the key treatment for AGE
- Probiotics, overall, reduce diarrhea by approximately 1 day
- However, probiotic effects are strain specific; findings from one probiotic cannot be extrapolated to another
- The group recommends choosing probiotics with efficacy confirmed in well-conducted RCTs from a reputable manufacturer
- Two specific recommended probiotics: Lactobacillus GG and Saccromyces boulardii
Take-home message: This article summarizes the available evidence for the use of probiotics in acute gastroenteritis. Despite their classification as “low quality of evidence,” the authors provide a strong recommendation for two probiotics (Lactobacillus GG and Saccromyces boulardii) as adjunctive therapy.
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