Should I give my daughter probiotics while she's on antibiotics?

My daughter was put on 10 days of antibiotics for a strep infection. Should I give her probiotics while she’s on antibiotics?

Ellen Rome, M.D.

Ellen Rome, M.D.

Dr. Ellen Rome is a board-certified pediatrician who was among the first in the U.S. to be board certified in adolescent medicine. She... Read more

There is no compelling evidence to show that probiotics are a must in this situation. However, probiotics have been shown to help prevent diarrhea in people who are taking antibiotics. While there’s no data on the ideal length of time to use probiotics, many clinicians recommend using probiotics for at least a week after the antibiotic is finished, or until it is clear that loose stools are staying or have become more solid. Also consider taking the probiotics several hours prior to or after taking the antibiotic so the antibiotics don’t kill the live bacteria that make up probiotics.

Our Cleveland Clinic pediatric gastroenterologists often recommend probiotics, which you can buy at many retail pharmacies and food stores. (Ask your pediatrician to recommend a brand.) Probiotics are often used in children to treat diarrheal-related illnesses. Probiotics are generally not recommended for babies under a month old, although there's some evidence that they can help to prevent a deadly bowel illness called necrotizing enterocolitis in newborns born prematurely. Probiotics remain a hot topic in research -- more to come as we learn more!