Helicobacter Pylori Infection

A review (Hamilton-Miller 1997) of 13 clinical trials of probiotics and H. pylori infection summarises the results as follows.

• In six trials involving a total of 180 patients, sole treatment with probiotics produced positive results in five studies. In three trials, there were significantly reduced breath-test readings and in two others some patients were cleared of infection.

• In seven further trials of 682 patients, probiotics were added to a therapeutic regimen of antibiotics, resulting in an increased cure rate in two studies, and reduced side-effects in four. Trials in which fermented milk products or whole cultures of lactobacilIi were used tended to show better results than when the probiotic was taken in the form of bacteria alone.

It must be noted that not all the studies were randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled, and some involved only small numbers of patients. However, the positive results obtained suggest that probiotics may have a place as adjunctive treatment in H. pylori infections and possibly in prophylaxis.

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