The world of synbiotics: a review of literature and clinical evidence in diarrhoea from the lens of a paediatrician


  • Pramod Jog Department of Pediatrics, D. Y. Patil Medical college, Pune, Maharashtra, India



Combination probiotics, Diarrhoea, Multi-strain probiotics, Prebiotics, Probiotics, Synbiotics


The use of synbiotics in the management of acute diarrhoea in children is becoming a common practice in India. However, since this is an upcoming modality of treatment, it is essential to review the scientific rationale and evidence on clinical efficacy and safety in the context of paediatric diarrhoea. In addition, most synbiotics contain a combination of multiple probiotics along with a prebiotic. Thus arises, a parallel need to understand whether a combination of probiotics performs better than single probiotics, hence justifying the rationale for such combinations. A review of available evidence suggests that synbiotics are indeed safe and superior in efficacy to single probiotics (like Bacillus clausii, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG etc) and that there is a good body of evidence to support the efficacy and tolerability of synbiotics in the management of paediatric acute gastroenteritis. There is also evidence to suggest that combination probiotics have superior benefits compared to single probiotics, thus justifying their use as part of synbiotics. The overall benefits of synbiotics reported in various clinical trials on paediatric diarrhoea include, a rapid normalization of the gastrointestinal flora, a reduction in the duration of diarrhoea, quicker improvement in stool consistency, lesser administration of additional medications like antibiotics, antiemetics and antipyretics, higher physician reported treatment satisfaction scores and enhanced overall efficacy against gastrointestinal pathogens, including diarrhoea of rota virus origin. Hence, synbiotics put up a strong case to look beyond probiotics and single probiotic formulations in paediatric diarrhoea.


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