Probiotics in clinical conditions

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2002 Jun;22(3):255-73. doi: 10.1007/s12016-002-0011-0.


Probiotics are nonpathogenic microorganisms which, when ingested, exert a positive influence on the health or physiology of the host. Their mechanisms of action and effects are now studied using the same pharmacological approach as for drugs. This article summarizes and comments on evidence for the positive effects of probiotics in various clinical situations. Substantial evidence can be achieved when randomized controlled trials or meta-analyses show positive results. The clinical situations studied include prevention or treatment of antibiotic-associated disorders, gastroenteritis, and diarrhea, lactose intolerance, intestinal infections and colonization by pathogenic bacteria (including Helicobacter pylori and Clostridium difficile), traveler's diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colonic cancer, urogenital infections and tumors, allergy (especially atopic eczema), vaccination, and cholesterol lowering. Current probiotics have an excellent safety record--another topic discussed in this article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacterium*
  • Communicable Diseases* / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus*
  • Probiotics*