Positive effect of the addition of probiotics in conjunction with an antibiotic intervention on microbial diversity and composition in adults

Dec 06, 2022
Sébastien Bouley

Millions of antibiotic prescriptions are written each year in the United States. Probiotics reduce antibiotic-induced gastrointestinal side effects; however, the effect of probiotics on the preservation of gut microbial composition in response to antibiotics is not well understood.

A recent US review published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology attempted to assess whether the intake of probiotics is able to reverse the changes in alpha diversity and gut microbial composition commonly seen in adults receiving antibiotics.

In this context, a review of the scientific literature was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines using PubMed, Science Direct, Cochrane and Embase over the period from January to December 2021 with the following inclusion criteria:

  • Randomized clinical trials evaluating the effect of antibiotics, probiotics or antibiotics + probiotics;
  • studies targeting 16S rRNA;
  • with adult participants;
  • and in english.

After data were extracted into tables, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) scoring system was used to analyze risk of bias. Thus, a total of 29 articles (n=11 antibiotics, n=11 probiotics and n=7 antibiotics+probiotics) were retained.

The lack of standardization of protocols for the analysis of the intestinal microbial composition and the wide range of antibiotics /selected probiotics complicated the interpretation of the data. However, despite these discrepancies, co-administration of probiotics with antibiotics appeared to prevent some, but not all, of the antibiotic-induced compositional changes, including the restoration of health-related bacteria such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.

In conclusion, adding probiotics in conjunction with antibiotic interventions appears to preserve alpha diversity and ameliorate antibiotic-induced changes in gut microbial composition. But this conclusion remains to be qualified with the lack of uniformity of the protocols and the current number of data which remains low.

To know more, you can consult the review on this link.

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