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Probiotics may help prevent diarrhea: report

Taking probiotics - strains of "good" bacteria - on top of a course of antibiotics may help ward off the diarrhea that often comes with antibiotic treatment, according to a U.S. review of past studies.

When researchers, whose findings appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, combined trials of all types of the gut-healthy microbes, they found that patients with a range of conditions - from ear infections to sepsis - were 42 percent less likely to get diarrhea from their antibiotic drugs if they were also taking a probiotic.

One-quarter to one-third of people treated with an antibiotic typically get diarrhea as a result, the researchers said. It's often not more than an unpleasant side effect, but can be serious enough to send some patients to the hospital.

"Antibiotics in doing their work actually kill off a lot of the normal flora that are supposed to exist in our gut, so things kind of go haywire," said Sydne Newberry from the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, who worked on the study.

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