Media release: Probiotics vs. C.difficile and diarrhea—a systematic review

Submitted by Carlyn Zwarenstein on June 4, 2013 - 10:41

Open Medicine

A peer-reviewed, independent, open-access journal.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile infection among hospitalized patients: systematic review and meta-analysis

Hot on the heels of a flurry of research looking into the potential benefits of probiotics, Open Medicine <http://www.openmedicine.ca/> published a major review today of what we know about their use specifically for hospital in-patients.

In “Probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile infection among hospitalized patients: systematic review and meta-analysis”, the authors reviewed and conducted a meta-analysis of the extensive world-wide research literature on the effectiveness of probiotics for preventing the common problems of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and infection with C. difficile (CDI) among hospitalized adult patients.

“We’ve targeted a much more specific set of patients than other studies,” explains Dr. Reena Pattani, lead author on the paper. “We wanted to look only at that population to see if this would be a useful preventative intervention that’s hospital-wide.”

The study found that probiotics used concurrently with antibiotics do indeed reduce the risk of both AAD and CDI.

While Dr. Pattani cautions that it’s too early to call for such a blanket policy based on her findings, her team’s review of a large number of smaller studies did find strong evidence of benefits to patients in taking probiotics. In fact, some of the present study’s co-authors will be investigators in a new, upcoming large trial that will investigate the benefits of probiotics in reducing rates of C.difficile infection among thousands of patients from dozens of hospitals across Ontario.

For more information, please visit Open Medicine <http://www.openmedicine.ca/>.

Reena Pattani, MD, is a resident in internal medicine at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. Valerie A. Palda, MD, MSc, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. Stephen W. Hwang, MD, MPH, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, and a Research Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario. Prakeshkumar S. Shah, MD, MSc, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.

For more information, please contact:

Kate Taylor,
Communications and Public Affairs
St. Michael’s Hospital
TaylorKa@smh.ca
416.864.6060 x 6537

 

 

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