A systematic review of 70 studies investigating the use of probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms (IBS, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, diarrhoea associated with Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy and other conditions) was performed, evidence was graded and recommendations for the physicians provided.
Specific probiotics are beneficial in (i) reduction of total symptoms and abdominal pain in patients with IBS, (ii) prevention or reduction of duration of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and (iii) prevention or reduction of duration/intensity of associated diarrhoea in patients receiving H. pylori eradication therapy (‘high’ level of evidence). In some patients with IBS, specific probiotics help to reduce bloating and improve the frequency and/or consistency of bowel movements (‘moderate’ level of evidence). The probiotics showed a favourable safety profile.
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Reference: Hungin APS et al (for the European Society for Primary Care Gastroenterology). Systematic review: probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms – an updated evidence-based international consensus. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2018; 47(8):1054-1070.