Cochrane backs probiotics for kids on antibiotics

Young children prescribed antibiotics should be given probiotics as a matter of course, research suggests.

According to the latest evidence, probiotics lessen the odds of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in children, and come with few if any side effects.

A Cochrane review of 23 randomised trials with almost 4000 paediatric patients found those given probiotics had a less than 10% risk of antibiotic-associated  diarrhoea, compared with the controls who had a 20% risk.

Children were randomised to single- or multi-strain probiotics typically for five to 12 days and compared with controls who were given a placebo or no treatment. Probiotics administered included Bacillus, Bifidobacterium, Clostridium, Lactobacilli, Lactococcus, Leuconostoc, Saccharomycesand Streptococcus.

The largest of the studies analysed found that toddlers and those exposed to