Efficacy and safety of probiotics in preterm infants

Abstract. Probiotics are live microbial feed supplements that beneficially affect the recipient by improving intestinal balance. In an updated systematic review, nineteen trials randomizing more than 2800 infants were included. In a meta-analysis of trial data, enteral probiotic supplementation significantly reduced the incidence of severe necrotizing enterocolitis (typical RR 0.35, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.52) and mortality (typical RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.74). There was no evidence of significant reduction of nosocomial sepsis (typical RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.03). The included trials reported no systemic infection with - supplemented probiotics. Recent data in addition to a report by the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology (ESPGAN) concluded probiotics could be generally considered safe.

*Corresponding Author: 

Dr. Khalid AlFaleh, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, College of Medicine and King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, P.O. Box 7805, Riyadh 11472 Saudi Arabia. Tel.: +966 556031222; Fax: +966 14671709; E-mail: kfaleh@ksu.edu.sa.