Probiotic drinks reduce antibiotic-induced diarrhea
The June 30, 2007, issue of the British Medical Journal reports a study [Hickson M, D'Souza AL, Muthu N, Rogers TR, Want S, Rajkumar C, et al. Use of probiotic Lactobacillus preparation to prevent diarrhoea associated with antibiotics: randomised double blind placebo controlled trial. British Medical Journal. 2007] that found that the risk of diarrhea during antibiotic treatment is reduced by consuming yogurt drinks containing Lactobacillus casei or other probiotic [the use of microorganiams to improve or maintain health] microorganisms.
Mary Hickson of Imperial College in London conducted a study [Hickson M, D'Souza AL, Muthu N, Rogers TR, Want S, Rajkumar C, et al. Use of probiotic Lactobacillus preparation to prevent diarrhoea associated with antibiotics: randomised double blind placebo controlled trial. British Medical Journal. 2007] on 135 hospitalized patients who were over 50 years old and who were being given antibiotics [substance derived from mold or bacteria that is capable of inhibiting the growth of particular microorganisms]. The randomized, double-blind study excluded participants who had diarrhea when they were admitted to the hospital, who had used antibiotics recently, or who were severely ill.
The treatment group received a commercially available probiotic yogurt beverage that contained Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophilus. Patients in the placebo group were given a sterile milkshake. Both group had their assigned beverage twice daily while they were on antibiotic treatment and for a week afterward.
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea occurred in 12% of patients drinking the probiotic beverage, as compared to 34% of the placebo group. The study also found that the risk of diarrhea increased in patients who had low albumin [a simple, water-soluble protein that is commonly distributed throughout the tissues of our bodies] and sodium levels. ◊
An earlier version of this article appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of The Mastocytosis Chronicles, the quarterly newsletter of the Mastocytosis Society (TMS).
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