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Probiotics for prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and sepsis in preterm infants



Probiotics for prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and sepsis in preterm infants



Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 29(3): 256-261



Few areas in neonatal medicine have generated as much discussion and controversy as the use of prophylactic probiotics for the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis. We summarize recent studies from the last 1-2 years. Systematic reviews show that probiotics reduce the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis but there are methodological limitations to all the published trials, and the largest trial to date is at odds with the conclusions of the meta-analyses. Trials have used a range of commercially available products with differing species, and administered these at different times to heterogeneous populations of preterm babies. Although there is strong evidence to show that 'probiotics' are likely to represent a major advance for neonatal care, it is increasingly clear that not all species have beneficial effects in preterm infants. This makes interpretation of meta-analyses complex, and the determination of a single 'risk reduction' potentially flawed. Despite current uncertainties, it is difficult for clinicians to ignore the current data, and increasing numbers now use commercially available products. It remains a matter of concern that many products lack the robust quality control most clinicians and parents would consider important for use in vulnerable populations. Head-to-head trials are needed.

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Accession: 058629594

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27023404

DOI: 10.1097/qco.0000000000000269


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