Background: Co-treatment with Saccharomyces boulardii appears to lower the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in adults receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Aim: To determine whether S. boulardii prevents antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in children.
Methods: A total of 269 children (aged 6 months to 14 years) with otitis media and/or respiratory tract infections were enrolled in a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial in which they received standard antibiotic treatment plus 250 mg of S. boulardii (experimental group, n = 132) or a placebo (control group, n = 137) orally twice daily for the duration of antibiotic treatment. Analyses were based on allocated treatment and included data from 246 children.
Results: Patients receiving S. boulardii had a lower prevalence of diarrhoea (> or =3 loose or watery stools/day for > or =48 h occurring during or up to 2 weeks after the antibiotic therapy) than those receiving placebo [nine of 119 (8%) vs. 29 of 127 (23%), relative risk: 0.3, 95% confidence interval: 0.2-0.7]. S. boulardii also reduced the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (diarrhoea caused by Clostridium difficile or otherwise unexplained diarrhoea) compared with placebo [four of 119 (3.4%) vs. 22 of 127 (17.3%), relative risk: 0.2; 95% confidence interval: 0.07-0.5]. No adverse events were observed.
Conclusion: This is the first randomized-controlled trial evidence that S. boulardii effectively reduces the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in children.