Probiflora gut science logo

The Impact of Antibiotics

Antibiotics change our GUT ecosystem and the
function of intestinal microbiotia.

Antibiotics disrupt the gastrointestinal flora by reducing the diversity and abundance of microorganisms, this is known as dysbiosis which leads to gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea.1

Diarrhoea is a common side effect of antibiotic treatment, which can affect up to 40 % of people. Diarrhoea can occur from day one of treatment and can last up to two months after the end of treatment. All types of antibiotics can cause diarrhoea however aminopenicillins, cephalosporins and clindamycin have been known to be associated with greater risk of side effects.2

The consequences of antibiotic use are not fully reversed even after several months of stopping treatment. Eventually the gut microbiota imbalance caused by the antibiotic can weaken the immune system, increase the risk of intestine-related diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and immunity related diseases such as allergies, skin conditions and type 1 diseases.1

In addition antibiotic associated diarrhoea is a major reason why patients do not complete their course of antibiotics.3

Why Probiotics are useful and important.

Probiotic supplementation has proven to reduce episodes of diarrhoea4 and therefore have been advocated to support antibiotic use.1,3 Studies have shown that infants and children given probiotics to avoid or reduce the risk for certain infections have a 29 % lower risk fo being prescribed antibiotics.4

Further findings confirmed that certain probiotics strain reduced the duration of diarrhoea symptoms from 8 days to 2 days and abdominal pain was reduced from 39 % to 23 % in adults.1

Use of probiotics can decrease incidence and severity of common acute infections which can therefore lead to decreased need for antibiotic therapy.

Probiotics have valuable benefits in reducing the risk of antibiotic associated diarrhoea, to improve or normalise the microbial balance.5

For more information refer to your healthcare provider.



  1. Yoon MY, Sang SS. Disruption of the Gut Ecosystem by Antibiotics. Yonsei medical journal. 2018;59(1):4-12. doi:10.3349/ymj.2018.59.1.4.
  2. Blaabjerg, S.; Artzi, D.M.; Aabenhus, R. Probiotics for the Prevention of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea in Outpatients—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Antibiotics. 2017;6(12):1-17.
  3. Hempel S, Newberry SJ, Maher AR, et al. Probiotics for the Prevention and Treatment of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2012;307(18):1959–1969. doi:
  4. King S, Tancredi D, Lenoir-Wijnkoop I, et al. Does probiotic consumption reduce antibiotic utilization for common acute infections? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Public Health. 2019;29(3):494–499. doi:10.1093/eurpub/cky185
  5. Kechagia M, Basoulis D, Konstantopoulou S, et al. Health benefits of probiotics: a review. ISRN Nutr. 2013;2013:481651. Published 2013. 1-7. doi:10.5402/2013/481651.
Adcock Ingram Limited (Pty) Ltd.. Reg. No. 1949/034385/06. Private Bag X69, Bryanston, 2021, South Africa. Customer Care: 0860 ADCOCK/232625. 20191219103089