The Effectiveness of Probiotics for Managing Diarrhoea in People with HIV Infection: A Critically Appraised Topic

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OBJECTIVES: The implications of HIV infection are vast. Management of clinical symptomatology, though, cannot be overshadowed by focus on disease management. These must be managed in concert. Diarrhoea, a common complaint of HIV-infected people, can be difficult to manage, and complicated further by polypharmacy. This review will critically appraise literature related to the management of diarrhoea with probiotics in HIV-infected people.

METHODS: PubMed, CINAHL, and The Cochrane Library were searched for randomized controlled trials investigating the use of probiotics in HIV-infected people, which included diarrhoeal symptoms as a primary or secondary endpoint.

RESULTS: Three randomized controlled trials and one randomized control cross-over study were identified as best evidence. One study identified a statistically significant improvement in diarrhoea for those treated with probiotics. An additional study identified improvement in diarrhoea; however, a similar improvement was seen in those treated with placebo. Two studies did not identify a statistical difference for those treated with probiotics.

CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to allow a strong recommendation to be made for or against the use of probiotics for diarrhoea, but safety and lack of drug-drug interactions make it a reasonable option for some patients.

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HIV Medicine





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This article was published in HIV Medicine, Volume 14, Issue 3, March 2013, Pages 187-90.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-1293.2012.01042.x

Copyright © 2012 British HIV Association

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