Review of probiotic use in otolaryngology

Alexandra T Bourdillon, Heather A Edwards
American Journal of Otolaryngology 2021, 42 (2): 102883

OBJECTIVE: Probiotics have garnered considerable attention as an intervention for various conditions common to otolaryngology. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the current literature to offer recommendations about the safety and efficacy of probiotic management in otolaryngologic conditions.

STUDY DESIGN: Narrative review.

METHODS: PubMed and Google Scholar were queried using pertinent keywords to retrieve relevant studies with particular focus in the recent 5 years. All abstracts were assessed and studies, reviews and meta-analyses achieving evaluation of probiotic therapies or characterization of microbiome changes were included for further review. Studies were categorized by condition or anatomic region across various subspecialties. Key data parameters were extracted and evaluated across studies and treatment types.

RESULTS: Strong evidence exists for the use probiotic agents to improve symptoms for allergic rhinitis, chronic rhinosinusitis and certain dental conditions. Despite promising results, further investigation is needed to evaluate and optimize probiotic delivery for mitigating otitis media, oropharyngeal inflammation and upper respiratory tract infections. Preclinical studies suggest that probiotics may potentially offer benefit for voice prosthesis maintenance, wound healing and mitigation of oral dysplasia.

CONCLUSION: Probiotic therapies may offer clinical benefit in a variety of contexts within the field of otolaryngology, especially for short-term relief of certain inflammatory conditions of the oral cavity, auditory and nasal cavities. Further investigation is warranted for evaluation of long-term outcomes and pathogenic deterrence.

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