Objective: To evaluate the effect of fermented milk-based probiotic preparations on Helicobacter pylori eradication.
Design: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
Data sources: Electronic databases and hand search of reviews, bibliographies of books and abstracts and proceedings of international conferences.
Review methods: Included trials had to be randomized or quasi-randomized and controlled, using fermented milk-based probiotics in the intervention group, treating Helicobacter-infected patients and evaluating improvement or eradication of H. pylori as an outcome.
Results: The search identified 10 eligible randomized controlled trials. Data were available for 963 patients, of whom 498 were in the treatment group and 465 in the control group. The pooled odds ratio (studies n=9) for eradication by intention-to-treat analysis in the treatment versus control group was 1.91 (1.38-2.67; P<0.0001) using the fixed effects model; test for heterogeneity (Cochran's Q=5.44; P=0.488). The pooled risk difference was 0.10 (95% CI 0.05-0.15; P<0.0001) by the fixed effects model (Cochran's Q=13.41; P=0.144). The pooled odds ratio for the number of patients with any adverse effect was 0.51 (95% CI 0.10-2.57; P=0.41; random effects model; heterogeneity by Cochran's Q=68.5; P<0.0001).
Conclusion: Fermented milk-based probiotic preparations improve H. pylori eradication rates by approximately 5-15%, whereas the effect on adverse effects is heterogeneous.