Probiotic Appears to Help in Recurring Pharyngo-Tonsil Infections

January 21, 2016
Dava Stewart

Concerns about antiobiotic overuse have led to a search for an alternative treatment for strep throat infections. Italian researchers found children with recurrent pharyngo-tonsillar infections responded to a probiotic, Streptococcus salivarius K12.

A recent study has shown that an oral preparation of Streptococcus salivarius K12 (SsK12) may be a good option for treating patients who have group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (GABHS), especially those patients who require frequent antibiotic therapy. The study was completed by Giuseppe Gregori, MD, of the Primary Care Department in the Local Health Unit, in the Department of Health Science at the University of Genoa, in Italy, and colleagues. It was published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management on January 19, 2016.

Children in Italy who have recurrent pharyngo-tonsillar infections (RPTIs) caused by GABHS are treated with amoxicillin. Those who experience cycles of GABHS infections and antibiotic therapy may require surgery. This study was “to assess retrospectively if SsK12 use in pediatric patients with GABHS RPTIs” reduce the occurrence of GABHS relapses during the treatment period, and during the following 12 months as well as compared to a group of children with GABHS RPTIs not being treated with SsK12.

There were 130 children in this study, of those 76 were treated with SsK12, while 54 were the control group. The researchers found that “the reduction of infections obtained in the treated group was statistically higher in the SsK12-treated children.” Additionally, “the group of children treated with SsK12 experienced significantly fewer GABHS infections both during the initial 90 days of inclusion in the study, during which the treatment group received SsK12, and in the following 9 months.”

Although the authors recognize that “this retrospective, observational study has less validity than a double-blind, controlled, prospective, and randomized investigation” the finding that “SsK12 assumption makes four times less likely the need for antibiotic therapy against GABHS infections” makes further study and additional investigations important scientific goals.