Probiotics ease diarrhea during chemotherapy

The probiotic lactobacillus rhamnosus GG eased diarrhea in those with colorectal cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy. Researchers gave 150 chemotherapy patients a daily dose of lactobacillus with guar gum or no probiotics for 24 weeks during treatment. The chemotherapy, called 5-Fluorouracil or 5-FU, frequently causes diarrhea. Patients received chemotherapy once per month—using the faster Mayo Clinic regimen—or once every two weeks, using the slower de Gramont regimen. Those who took lactobacillus had severe diarrhea 22% of the time compared to 37% for those who did not take lactobacillus. The lactobacillus patients also had less pain, needed less hospital care and were better able to maintain chemotherapy treatment because the bowel stayed healthier than those who did not take lactobacillus.

Reference: British Journal of Cancer: 2007, Vol. 97, No. 8, 1028-34.

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