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May 8, 2012Science and Technology
Probiotics can reduce risk of diarrhea caused by antibiotics

RAND researchers conducted an extensive review of the medical literature to find studies that examined whether probiotic use can prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Probiotics are microorganisms that are believed to improve health by maintaining a normal balance of microorganisms in the human intestines. They are contained in some food products and also are sold as nutritional supplements. Use of probiotics was associated with a 42 percent lower risk of developing diarrhea when taking antibiotics as compared to not using probiotics. However, researchers say the evidence was insufficient to show which type of microorganism was better than another because the included strains were poorly documented and often given as blends of several types. Further, there was no indication that the response varied systematically by a person's age, the duration of antibiotic use or other clinical indications.

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