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Probiotics for gastroenteritis in young children do not improve symptoms, studies find

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4941 (Published 22 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4941
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

Commonly used probiotics are not effective in improving diarrhoea or vomiting in young children presenting to hospital emergency departments with gastroenteritis, two randomised trials have found.12

Acute gastroenteritis is a common cause of hospital admissions in young children. Current treatment options include controlling symptoms, preventing dehydration, and preventing the spread of infection to contacts. The use of probiotics in children with acute gastroenteritis has been growing after meta-analyses suggested improved outcomes—but most trials have been small and non-randomised and lacked quality control for the probiotics tested.

US researchers carried out a prospective trial in 971 children aged 3 months to 4 years (median age 1.4 years) who presented to emergency departments at 10 hospital centres. The children were randomly assigned to a five day course of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (dose …

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