Review | Open Access
Prevention of Clostridium difficile Infection with Saccharomyces boulardii: A Systematic Review
BACKGROUND: Clostridium difficile is a major cause of antibioticassociated diarrhea within the hospital setting. The yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has been found to have some effect in reducing the risk of C difficile infection (CDI); however, its role in preventive therapy has yet to be firmly established.OBJECTIVE: To review the effectiveness of S boulardii in the prevention of primary and recurrent CDI. Benefit was defined as a reduction of diarrhea associated with C difficile. Risk was defined as any adverse effects of S boulardii.METHODS: A literature search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library was performed. Included studies were English language, randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trials evaluating S boulardii in CDI prevention.RESULTS: Four studies were reviewed. Two studies investigated the prevention of recurrence in populations that were experiencing CDI at baseline. One trial showed a reduction of relapses in patients experiencing recurrent CDI (RR=0.53; P<0.05). The other demonstrated a trend toward reduction of CDI relapse in the recurrent treatment group of patients receiving high-dose vancomycin (RR=0.33; P=0.05). Two other studies examined primary prevention of CDI in populations that had been recently prescribed antibiotics. These studies lacked the power to detect statistically significant differences. Patients on treatment experienced increased risk for thirst and constipation.CONCLUSION: S boulardii seems to be well tolerated and may be effective for secondary prevention in some specific patient populations with particular concurrent antibiotic treatment. Its role in primary prevention is poorly defined and more research is required before changes in practice are recommended.
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