Lactobacillus prophylaxis for diarrhea due to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli

M. L. Clements, M. M. Levine, R. E. Black, R. M. Robins-Browne, L. A. Cisneros, G. L. Drusano, C. F. Lanata, A. J. Saah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


In vitro and animal experiments indicated that lactobacilli might prevent Escherichia coli from colonizing the intestine and may produce substances counteracting enterotoxin. Lactinex, a commercial preparation of dried Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bulgaricus, is marketed for uncomplicated diarrhea. Preliminary experiments in nonfasting volunteers indicated that lactobacilli in this preparation colonized the small intestine for up to 6 h. To evaluate the protective efficacy of Lactinex, a double-blind randomized study was carried out in which 48 volunteers (23 receiving Lactinex and 25 receiving placebos) were challenged with E. coli strains that produced heat-stable or heat-labile enterotoxins or both. No significant differences between the two groups were noted with respect to attack rate, incubation period, duration of diarrhea, volume and number of liquid stools, and coproculture yields. These data suggest that lactobacillus preparation does not prevent or alter the course of enterotoxigenic E. coli diarrhea in adults. Lack of efficacy occurred despite efforts to maximize small bowel colinization, including administration of Lactinex in milk and in a 6-hour-interval regimen during 36 h before and 96 h after challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-108
Number of pages5
JournalUnknown Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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