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Systematic review: clinical evidence of probiotics in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea


Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD) is the most common intestinal side effect of an antibiotic therapy. Various probiotics or probiotic combinations are often used preventively while taking antibiotics for the prevention of AAD.


This review is based on a systematic literature research in MEDLINE and EMBASE. 7 probiotics are presented with regard to their effectiveness and evidence in the prevention of AAD. Only preparations classified by the World Gastroenerology Organization (WGO) with evidence levels 1−3 for the prevention of AAD were taken into account. 37 clinical studies, including 33 RCTs, were evaluated.


Saccharomyces (S.) boulardii CNCM I-745 is the most extensively studied probiotic regarding the prevention of AAD. It has shown evidence-based efficacy in all patient groups (outpatients and hospitalized children and adults). Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG also has a good evidence regarding the prevention of AAD in children and outpatient adults. The other probiotics and probiotic combinations evaluated in the present study only show efficacy in hospitalized patients or only show very limited evidence regarding their efficacy in the prevention of AAD due to the underlying study design or the small number of patients.


The effect of probiotics is strain-specific, no general statement can be made about the efficacy of probiotics in the prevention of AAD. In principle, it is advisable to select a probiotic with an evidence-based effect such as S. boulardii CNCM I-745 or Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG to prevent AAD.

Martin Storr, Andreas Stengel

MMW Fortschr Med. 2021 Apr; 163(Suppl 4): 19−26.

doi: 10.1007/s15006−021−9762−5.

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