Background: Convincing evidence that probiotic administration can lower the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea is limited to certain micro-organisms.
Aim: To determine the efficacy of administration of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (strains E/N, Oxy and Pen) for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in children.
Methods: Children (aged 3 months to 14 years) with common infections were enrolled in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial in which they received standard antibiotic treatment plus 2 x 10(10) colony forming units of a probiotic (n = 120) or a placebo (n = 120), administered orally twice daily throughout antibiotic treatment. Analyses were by intention to treat.
Results: Any diarrhoea (>or=3 loose or watery stools/day for >or=48 h occurring during or up to 2 weeks after the antibiotic therapy) occurred in nine (7.5%) patients in the probiotic group and in 20 (17%) patients in the placebo group (relative risk, RR 0.45, 95% confidence interval, CI 0.2-0.9). Three (2.5%) children in the probiotic group developed AAD (diarrhoea caused by Clostridium difficile or otherwise unexplained diarrhoea) compared to nine (7.5%) in the placebo group (RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.1-1.06). No adverse events were observed.
Conclusion: Administration of L. rhamnosus (strains E/N, Oxy and Pen) to children receiving antibiotics reduced the risk of any diarrhoea, as defined in this study.