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3 Jun 2013

Probiotics may eliminate common side-effect of antibiotics

Antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, but probiotics may help to counter the issue.

Diarrhoea is a common side-effect of antibiotics, but new research indicates that the problem is eliminated when patients also take probiotics.

Antibiotics are used to destroy populations of potentially harmful bacteria in the body, but as such disturb the natural balance of healthy bacteria in the gut.

People can therefore become vulnerable to infection, and the increased risk of contracting illnesses like clostridium difficile (C Diff) can be life threatening.

Scientists from the Cochrane Collaboration performed a meta-analysis of 23 placebo-controlled clinical trials in order to investigate the link between antibiotics and probiotics.

They found that patients on antibiotics who also ingested the balancing microorganisms had a two per cent risk of developing C Diff-motivated diarrhoea.

On the other hand, participants who took placebos rather than the probiotic supplementation had a six per cent chance of experiencing this side-effect.

Dr Bradley Johnston told the BBC: "Implementing the appropriate dose and strains of probiotics in hospitals could provide cost savings and improve quality of life."

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