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What are the indications for probiotics in children 

The health benefits of probiotics have been the subject of extensive research although it is not always clear to the practicing clinician if, when, which and for how long they should be used. Hania Szejewska reviews the evidence providing guidance for the clinician. Probiotics are ‘live micro-organisms' that when prescribed in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host. Probiotics can be administered as a dietary supplement, food product or a drug. It is important to remember that not all probiotics are equal and for specific indications to consider the evidence for specific probiotics strains. The review works through different potential indications. The best documented efficacy is for acute gastroenteritis, prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhoea, prevention of nosocomial diarrhoea and the prevention of necrotising enterocolitis. There is some evidence for the treatment of infantile colic, treatment of helicobacter pylori, prevention of atopic eczema and treatment of ulcerative colitis. There is less evidence for efficacy for the treatment of abdominal pain and other functional gastrointestinal disorders, constipation and Crohn's disease. Dose, quality and safety are discussed. The review starts with Probiotics: myth or miracle? Are probiotics really that good for …

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