Background and objective: The efficacy of Saccharomyces boulardii for treatment of childhood diarrhea remains unclear. Our objective was to systematically review data on the effect of S. boulardii on acute childhood diarrhea.
Methods: Our data sources included Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus, and The Cochrane Library up to September 2013 without language restrictions. Randomized controlled trials and non-randomized trials that evaluated effectiveness of S. boulardii for treatment of acute diarrhea in children were included. Two reviewers independently evaluated studies for eligibility and quality and extracted the data.
Results: In total, 1248 articles were identified, of which 22 met the inclusion criteria. Pooling data from trials showed that S. boulardii significantly reduced the duration of diarrhea (mean difference [MD], -19.7 hours; 95% confidence interval [CI], -26.05 to -13.34), stool frequency on day 2 (MD, -0.74; 95% CI, -1.38 to -0.10) and day 3 (MD, -1.24; 95% CI, -2.13 to -0.35), the risk for diarrhea on day 3 (risk ratio [RR], 0.41; 95% CI, 0.27 to 0.60) and day 4 (RR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.24 to 0.59) after intervention compared with control. The studies included in this review were varied in the definition of diarrhea, the termination of diarrhea, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and their methodological quality.
Conclusions: This review and meta-analysis show that S. boulardii is safe and has clear beneficial effects in children who have acute diarrhea. However, additional studies using head-to-head comparisons are needed to define the best dosage of S. boulardii for diarrhea with different causes.
Keywords: Saccharomyces boulardi; acute diarrhea; children; efficacy and systematic review; safety.
Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.