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Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the Use of Probiotics for the Prevention of Clostridium difficile–Associated Diarrhea in a Provincial Healthcare System

  • Jenine R. Leal (a1) (a2), Steven J. Heitman (a3) (a4), John M. Conly (a3) (a4) (a5) (a6) (a7), Elizabeth A. Henderson (a1) (a2) (a4) and Braden J. Manns (a2) (a3) (a4)...
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.



To conduct a full economic evaluation assessing the costs and consequences related to probiotic use for the primary prevention of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD).


Cost-effectiveness analysis using decision analytic modeling.


A cost-effectiveness analysis was used to evaluate the risk of CDAD and the costs of receiving oral probiotics versus not over a time horizon of 30 days. The target population modeled was all adult inpatients receiving any therapeutic course of antibiotics from a publicly funded healthcare system perspective. Effectiveness estimates were based on a recent systematic review of probiotics for the primary prevention of CDAD. Additional estimates came from local data and the literature. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess how plausible changes in variables impacted the results.


Treatment with oral probiotics led to direct costs of CDN $24 per course of treatment per patient. On average, patients treated with oral probiotics had a lower overall cost compared with usual care (CDN $327 vs $845). The risk of CDAD was reduced from 5.5% in those not receiving oral probiotics to 2% in those receiving oral probiotics. These results were robust to plausible variation in all estimates.


Oral probiotics as a preventive strategy for CDAD resulted in a lower risk of CDAD as well as cost-savings. The cost-savings may be greater in other healthcare systems that experience a higher incidence and cost associated with CDAD.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2016;37:1079–1086


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Jenine R. Leal, MSc, Infection Prevention and Control, Alberta Health Services, Foothills Medical Centre, 801-South Tower, 1403-29th St NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 2T9 (


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