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Minerva Pediatrica 2016 December;68(6):487-97

language: English

Role of prebiotics and probiotics in pediatric diseases

Sabrina CARDILE, Tommaso ALTERIO, Teresa ARRIGO, Carmelo SALPIETRO

Department of Pediatric Sciences, University of Messina, Messina, Italy


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The increasing knowledge about the composition and activities of the microflora has shown the close link between the bacteria and the health of the human organism. For this reason it has focused attention on the possibility of modulating the gut flora. The use of probiotics and prebiotics has increased enormously in recent years, more for real beneficial effects demonstrated in patients than for their safety profiles. However, it is recorded an indiscriminate use also in conditions in which there are no scientific evidence to support. Their use in case of immunocompromised patients or with severe and debilitating chronic diseases should be very prudent, because of the risk of complications including sepsis. The use of a probiotic cannot ignore the knowledge of the genus and species of the strain and in pediatric patients has been demonstrated their role for treating acute viral gastroenteritis and preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea in healthy children. Moreover probiotics are considered as an option for recurrent and relapsing antibiotic sensitive pouchitis and in select patients with mild ulcerative colitis. Further studies are needed to evaluate clinical conditions that may require their use and to define the optimal doses and intake durations.

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