Background: The effects of probiotics are strain specific. The clinical effects of each strain need to be evaluated separately.
Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD) in children and adults.
Methods: The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, and EMBASE databases were searched up to July 2015, with no language restrictions, for randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Reference lists of reviews and included studies were examined. The quality of evidence (QoE) was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) guidelines.
Results: Twelve RCTs (1499 participants) were included. Treatment with LGG compared with placebo or no additional treatment reduced the risk of AAD in patients treated with antibiotics from 22.4% to 12.3% (11 RCTs, n = 1308, relative risk, RR: 0.49, 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.29-0.83, low QoE). However, when children and adults were evaluated separately, the difference was significant in children only (five RCTs, n = 445, RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.26-0.89; moderate QoE). In adults, the difference was not significant (six RCTs, n = 863, RR 0.48, 95% CI 0.20-1.15; low QoE), except for in a subset of patients receiving antibiotics as part of Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy (four RCTs, n = 280, RR 0.26, 95% CI 0.11-0.59; low QoE).
Conclusions: This meta-analysis shows that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is effective in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in children and adults treated with antibiotics for any reason. However, the quality of evidence is moderate to low.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.