Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Saccharomyces boulardii in Treating Childhood Diarrhea: Another Victory for Probiotics

By: Lewis First, MD, MS

Saccharomyces. Photo by Bob Blaylock
We have published several studies recently on probiotics and their benefits, but this week, we focus on Saccharomyces boulardii—one organism of the yeast family—and share its benefits courtesy of Feizizadeh et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3950), who have done a systematic review of its effectiveness in treating acute diarrhea in children.

According to the authors, S. boulardii has been shown to  prevent and manage diarrhea effectively (especially antibiotic-associated diarrhea), which is potentially very helpful since nearly 760,000 children die from diarrhea every year, especially in developing countries.

To see if S. boulardii really is an effective treatment for childhood diarrhea, Feizizadeh et al. specifically focused on randomized and non-randomized controlled trials, of which 22 out of 1,248 articles met study criteria. The bottom line of this systematic review is that this probiotic appears safe and beneficial, although dosages vary in these studies and the optimal dosing regimen has yet to be determined.

So are you using probiotics to help treat your patients’ diarrheal illnesses? Does it work? Share your thoughts by responding below, sending us an eLetter or via Facebook or Twitter.

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