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Probiotics for preterm neonates: parents’ perspectives and present prevalence
  1. Rajesh Sesham1,
  2. Sam Oddie2,
  3. Nicholas D Embleton3,
  4. Paul Clarke1
  1. 1 Neonatal Unit, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich, UK
  2. 2 Neonatal Unit, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford, UK
  3. 3 Newcastle Neonatal Service, Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr P Clarke, Consultant Neonatologist, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Norwich, NR4 7UY, UK; paul.clarke{at}

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Meta-analyses indicate that giving probiotics to preterm neonates significantly decreases risk of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) or death.13 Multiple randomised controlled trials including >5000 very low birthweight (VLBW) infants have not shown any adverse effects associated with probiotic use,3 and no disadvantages to growth or neurodevelopment are apparent.4 Routine probiotic supplementation has been offered in Bradford since September 2011 and in Norwich and Newcastle since January 2013 via Probiotics in Neonates Collaboration (PINC-UK). We treat all infants born <32 weeks’ gestation and all VLBW preterm infants using Infloran, a probiotic produced to assured drug quality standards using Good Manufacturing Practices (Desma Healthcare, Switzerland). This provides a daily dose of 1 billion each of live Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum at a cost of ∼£1 per day. Parents either receive a written …

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  • Contributors PC conceived the idea and designed the surveys; RS undertook all data collection; PC and RS wrote the manuscript with input from all authors and all approved the final version.

  • Funding The cost of return postage for the parental survey was funded by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Neonatal Unit Research Fund.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.