The Effect of Probiotics for Preventing Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections by GlobAdvHealthMed


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                             cochRanE cam REViEW: summaRy of findings

                             the Effect of probiotics for preventing acute upper
                             Respiratory tract infections
                             Ingvil Sæterdal, PhD; Vigdis Underland, MS; Elin Strømme Nilsen, MS

      author affiliation             s part of its efforts to disseminate the results of                             gut wall integrity) and systemic immunity (by enhanc-
   Ingvil Sæterdal, PhD;
  Vigdis Underland, MS;
                                     Cochrane reviews to a wider audience, the                                       ing nonspecific and specific arms of the immune sys-
      and Elin Strømme               Cochrane Complementary and Alternative                                          tem) are possible explanations.
      Nilsen, MS, are all    Medicine (CAM) Field develops Summary of Findings                                           This review was carried out to assess the effective-
      researchers at the     (SoF) tables and then uses those tables as a basis for its                              ness and safety of probiotics (any specified strain or
       Nordic Cochrane
    Centre’s Norwegian
                             plain-language summaries. Each SoF table presents the                                   dose) compared with placebo in the prevention of
     branch, Norwegian       most important outcomes for the review as well as the                                   acute URTI in people at risk of acute URTI.
  Knowledge Centre for       effect of the intervention and the quality of the evi-
         Health Services,
                             dence for each outcome. The process of developing the                                   What doEs thE REsEaRch say?
                             SoF table involves deciding which outcomes to present                                       Not all research provides the same quality of evi-
        correspondence       for which time points and evaluating the strength and                                   dence. The higher the quality, the more certain we are
    Ingvil Sæterdal, PhD     quality of the evidence for the outcomes.                                               about what the research says about an effect. The
                                  In this article, we present a Cochrane review about                                words will (high-quality evidence), probably (moderate-
               citation      the effects of the use of probiotics for preventing acute                               quality evidence), and may (low-quality evidence)
Global Adv Health Med.       upper respiratory tract infections. We contacted the                                    describe how certain we are about the effect (Table).
                             authors of the Cochrane review to request clarification                                     The 10 studies that the Cochrane authors reviewed
              Key Words
                             on points that we did not understand and to have them                                   showed that for people at risk of acute URTI, compared
  Summary of findings,       review the SoF table.                                                                   with a placebo, probiotics
Cochrane, CAM, review,
 GRADE, upper respira-
    tory tract infection,
                             What aRE acutE uppER REspiRatoRy tRact                                                      • may reduce the number of participants who expe-
   URTI, common cold,        infEctions, and Why pREscRiBE pRoBiotics?                                                     rienced URTI episodes (at least 1 event),
    sinusitis, probiotics,        Upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) are ill-                                    • have an uncertain effect on the mean duration of
               antibiotics   nesses caused by an acute infection of the upper respi-                                       an episode of URTI because the quality of evi-
More information about
                             ratory tract (ie, the nose, sinuses, pharynx, or larynx).                                     dence is very low,
 the Cochrane Summary        Acute URTIs include the common cold, acute sinusitis,                                       • may reduce the number of participants who used
     of Findings tables is   acute pharyngitis, acute laryngotracheobronchitis                                             antibiotics, and
available at http://www.
                             (croup), acute epiglottitis (supraglottitis), acute rhino                                   • may make little or no difference to adverse events.
                  view/0/    sinusitis and acute otitis media. Acute URTIs are a
 SummaryFindings.html.       major cause of morbidity, especially in children and                                          None of the studies measured the effect of probiot-
                             the elderly. They are caused by a large variety of viruses                              ics on older people.
                             and bacteria. Common symptoms include cough, fever,                                           In general, side effects are poorly documented and
                             headache, sore throat, runny nose, and sneezing.                                        it is difficult to provide precise information. In these
                             Usually, the symptoms subside after a few days.                                         studies, participants experienced minor side effects.
                                  To reduce fever and ease pain and headaches, para-                                 The main side effects were gastrointestinal symptoms
                             cetamol (acetaminophen), ibuprofen, or aspirin is often                                 such as vomiting, flatulence, and increased irritability.
                             recommended. Antibiotics are prescribed if the illness                                  However, pooled analysis showed no statistical differ-
                             becomes chronic and complications develop. However,                                     ence between the probiotics group and the placebo
                             misuse of antibiotics in acute URTIs caused by viruses is                               group (low-quality evidence).
                             common and may contribute to overuse of antibiotics
                             and risk for development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.                              WhERE doEs this infoRmation comE fRom?
                                  Probiotics are live microorganisms that might lead                   
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