Session: Slide Session: New Issues with Community-Acquired Pneumonia
Sunday, October 26, 2008: 12:00 AM
Room: Room 151B
Background: Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) have a high incidence and are associated with adverse outcomes. Objective: To evaluate the clinical evidence regarding probiotic use for the prevention of RTIs. Methods: Randomized controlled trials regarding the effects of probiotics for the prevention of upper or lower respiratory tract infections were identified in PubMed, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Scopus. Results: Fourteen randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (12 involving healthy subjects, 2 involving patients with respiratory tract infections) were included. Various Lactobacillus strains were used in 7 RCTs, combinations of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains were used in 5 RCTs, and also a Bifidobacterium strain and a non- pathogenic Enterococcus faecalis strain were used in 1 RCT, respectively. In 10 RCTs no difference was found regarding the incidence of RTIs in the probiotic compared to the control arms, whereas, the remaining 4 RCTs favored the use of probiotics. Reduction in the severity of symptoms related to RTIs was noted in 5 out of 6 RCTs that provided relevant data. In 3 out of 9 RCTs that provided relevant data the clinical course of RTIs was shorter in the probiotic arms, whereas, no difference was found in the remaining 6 RCTs. Six RCTs did not report any adverse events related to the use of probiotics, whereas 3 RCTs reported minor adverse events, and in 1 RCT adverse events leading to reduction in the probiotic intake were reported. Conclusions: Probiotics may have a beneficial effect on the severity and duration of symptoms of RTIs, but do not appear to reduce the incidence of RTIs.