Evidence suggests that the gut microbiota play an important role in gastrointestinal problems.
Dr Hungin and colleagues from France gave clinicians a practical reference guide on the role of specified probiotics in managing particular lower gastrointestinal symptoms/problems by means of a systematic review-based consensus.
Systematic literature searching identified randomized, placebo-controlled trials in adults.
Evidence for each symptom/problem was graded and statements developed.
As results cannot be generalized between different probiotics, individual probiotics were identified for each statement.
The research team identified 37 studies, mostly on irritable bowel syndrome or antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
The team found that statements with 100% agreement and ‘high’ evidence levels indicated that specific probiotics help reduce overall symptom burden and abdominal pain in some IBS patients.
The researchers also found that statements with 100% agreement occurred in patients receiving antibiotics/Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy, specified probiotics are helpful as adjuvants to prevent/reduce the duration/intensity of AAD.
The researchers found that probiotics have favorable safety in patients in primary care.
Items with 70–100% agreement and ‘moderate’ evidence included specific probiotics help relieve overall symptom burden in some patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS, and reduce bloating/distension and improve bowel movement frequency/consistency in some IBS patients, and with some probiotics, improved symptoms have led to improvement in quality of life.
Dr Hungin's team concludes, "Specified probiotics can provide benefit in IBS and antibiotic-associated diarrhea."
"Relatively few studies in other indications suggested benefits warranting further research."
"This study provides practical guidance on which probiotic to select for a specific problem."