What do Cochrane systematic reviews say about probiotics as preventive interventions?

What do Cochrane systematic reviews say about probiotics as preventive interventions?

Author Braga, Vinicius Lopes Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
dos Santos Rocha, Luana Pompeu Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Bernardo, Daniel Damasceno Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Cruz, Carolina de Oliveira Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Riera, Rachel Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Abstract BACKGROUND: Probiotics have been used for a range of clinical situations and their use is strongly encouraged by the media worldwide. This study identified and summarized all Cochrane systematic reviews about the preventive effects of probiotics in clinical practice. DESIGN AND SETTING: Review of systematic reviews, conducted in the Discipline of Evidence-Based Medicine, Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM), Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo (Unifesp). METHODS: We included all Cochrane reviews on any probiotics when they were used as preventive interventions and compared with no intervention, placebo or any other pharmacological or non-pharmacological intervention. RESULTS: 17 Cochrane systematic reviews fulfilled our inclusion criteria and were summarized in this report. None of the reviews included in the present study provided high-quality evidence for any outcome. The benefits from use of probiotics included decreased incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea; decreased incidence of upper respiratory tract infections and duration of episodes; decreased need for antibiotics and absences from school due to colds; and decreased incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Probiotics seem to decrease the incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus, birthweight, risk of vaginal infection and incidence of eczema. CONCLUSION: Despite the marketing and the benefits associated with probiotics, there is little scientific evidence supporting the use of probiotics. None of the reviews provided any high-quality evidence for prevention of illnesses through use of probiotics. More trials are needed to gain better knowledge of probiotics and to confirm when their use is beneficial and cost-effective.
Keywords Review [publication type]
Preventive medicine
Evidence-based medicine
Evidence-based practice
xmlui.dri2xhtml.METS-1.0.item-coverage Sao Paulo
Language English
Date 2017
Published in Sao Paulo Medical Journal. Sao Paulo, v. 135, n. 6, p. 578-586, 2017.
ISSN 1516-3180 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Associacao Paulista Medicina
Extent 578-586
Origin http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1516-3180.2017.0310241017
Access rights Open access Open Access
Type Article
Web of Science ID WOS:000418637300012
SciELO ID S1516-31802017000600578 (statistics in SciELO)
URI https://repositorio.unifesp.br/handle/11600/58214

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