Probiotics are not effective in reducing the symptoms of Gastroenteritis in young children, according to two studies conducted in several American and Canadian hospitals and published yesterday.
Doctors often prescribe probiotics to restore intestinal flora in young patients with gastroenteritis, but rigorous studies confirmed that this treatment is not effective in cases of the before-mentioned disease.
The two new studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine journal, used the most rigorous method to test the actual effect of the probiotics treatment. In addition to that, the research covered a large number of patients, namely, more than 1,800.
The study’s idea was to divide children presenting to the emergency room with gastroenteritis symptoms into two groups. The first group was prescribed probiotics for five days, while the others received a placebo of identical appearance, without the parents knowing to which group they belonged. The children were between 3 months and four years old. Ten American and six Canadian hospitals participated in each study.
Probiotics Are Useless In Cases Of Gastroenteritis In Young Children
The results of the two trials are similar. In the following days, there was no difference between children who received probiotics and those who received a placebo. The duration of vomiting, diarrhea, and other persistent gastroenteritis symptoms were not reduced.
That does not mean that probiotics are generally useless as thousands of other studies have shown their effectiveness against diarrhea, for example, as noted by Dr. Thomas LaMont in an editorial published in the before-mentioned medical journal.
Gastroenteritis remains a significant public health problem in developing countries, especially, where it can even lead to death, unlike the situation in developed countries where the health care system is much better, by comparison.
These two new studies focused only on the specific case of gastroenteritis, but both of them show, with a high degree of certainty, that prescribing probiotics does not help children to recover.
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