Cochrane Review: Probiotics NOT Proven Effective for Acute Gastroenteritis

Collinson S, Deans A, Padua-Zamora A, Gregorio GV, Li C, Dans LF, Allen SJ. Link to website with PDF availability: Probiotics for treating acute infectious diarrhoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD003048. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003048.pub4. Thanks to Kipp Ellsworth for this reference.

This review identified “82 studies in 12,127 people (included 11,526 children) with acute diarrhea.” Key findings:

  • The number of children with diarrhea longer than 48 hours was not different between those taking a probiotic and those taking a placebo
  • “It was unclear whether taking probiotics shortened the time spent in hospital compared with taking a placebo or no additional treatment .”

My take: Probiotics probably make little or no difference in the setting of acute gastroenteritis/diarrhea. This analysis is based on large trials with low risk of bias.

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