Literature update_2095
Literature update_2097

 

 

Research insights:

 

Probiotics contribute to a reduction in antibiotics use

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antibiotics are often prescribed for very common infections. Even if this infection is not caused by bacteria, such as the common cold. This contributes to the development of antibiotics resistance. However, the daily use of probiotics can reduce the (unnecessary) use of antibiotics.

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Antibiotics resistance is a worldwide problem

Earlier this year, the new Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (GLASS) of the WHO showed that antibiotics resistance is widespread: circa 500,000 people in 22 different countries were infected with resistant bacteria (1). Additionally, in the EU approximately 33,000 people die annually due to an infection with resistant bacteria (2). One of the most important causes for the growth in antibiotics resistance is the prescription of antibiotics when it is not indicated.  

 

 

Research into the effect of preventative probiotics use for everyday infections

Research has demonstrated that probiotics can reduce the number of episodes of everyday infectious diseases, such as upper respiratory tract infections. Furthermore, they can also reduce the length of time that symptoms persist in otherwise healthy children and adults with an acute respiratory tract infection. To investigate the degree to which this influences the number of antibiotics prescriptions, an international group of scientists conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. In it, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were reviewed in which probiotics were used to reduce the risk of everyday acute infections in healthy people of all ages (3).  

 

Meta-analysis shows a 53% decrease in antibiotics use

After careful selection, 17 RCTs were included in the meta-analysis. All studies concerned the preventative use of probiotics in children. The meta-analysis showed that children who take probiotics daily, were prescribed antibiotics 29% less often than children who took a placebo. The reduction in the number of antibiotics prescriptions was as much as 53% when only trials with a low risk of bias were considered.  

 

Preventive probiotics use contribute to a decrease in antibiotics use

According to chief investigator Daniel Merenstein, MD, these outcomes are very interesting. “In light of these results, it appears that regular consumption of probiotics may be a potential way to reduce the use of antibiotics,” he says. According to the researchers, probiotics may influence the number of antibiotics prescriptions because they can reduce the risk of certain diseases and shorten the period of symptoms. If fewer infections occur or only last for a short period, then people will also be less inclined to visit their general practitioner. Therefore, there is also less chance that antibiotics will be prescribed (4).

 

 

 

 

References

1) World Health Organization. (2017). Global antimicrobial resistance surveillance system (GLASS) report: early implementation 2016-2017. In Global antimicrobial resistance surveillance system (GLASS) report: early implementation 2016-2017. https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2018/antibiotic-resistance-found/en/

2) Cassini, A., Högberg, L. D., Plachouras, D., Quattrocchi, A., Hoxha, A., Simonsen, G. S., ... & Ouakrim, D. A. (2018). Attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years caused by infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU and the European Economic Area in 2015: a population-level modelling analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

3) King, S., Tancredi, D., Lenoir-Wijnkoop, I., Gould, K., Vann, H., Connors, G., ... & Merenstein, D. (2018). Does probiotic consumption reduce antibiotic utilization for common acute infections? A systematic review and meta-analysis. European journal of public health.

4) Probiotic use may reduce antibiotic prescriptions, researchers say [news release]. Georgetown University Medical Center website. Published September 14, 2018. gumc.georgetown.edu/news/Probiotic-Use-May-Reduce-Antibiotic-Prescriptions. Accessed October 18, 2018.

Read the scientific article:
Does probiotic consumption reduce antibiotic utilization for common acute infections? A systematic review and meta-analysis 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Probiotics contribute to a reduction in antibiotics use

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