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Review: probiotics are effective in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhoea

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 QUESTION: In patients being treated with antibiotics, does co-administration of probiotics reduce the incidence of diarrhoea?

Data sources

Studies in any language (with English abstracts) were identified by searching Medline (1966–2000) with the terms probiotics, biotherapeutic agents, lactobacilli, antibiotic associated diarrhoea, and Clostridium difficile; the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register; and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Study selection

Studies were selected if they were randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of probiotic treatment given in combination with antibiotics and diarrhoea prevention was reported.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on sample size; type, dose, and duration of probiotic treatment; and antibiotic studied. The outcome of interest was prevention of diarrhoea. Diarrhoea was defined …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr A L D’Souza, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK. Email aloysius.dsouza{at}

  • A modified version of this abstract also appears in Evidence-Based Nursing.