Probiotics and Microflora

Max Sherman, RPh

Disclosures

US Pharmacist. 2009;34(12):42-44. 

In This Article

Final Thoughts

Recent evidence has shown that microbes and their genes play important roles in the development of our immune systems, in the production of fatty acids that enhance healthy intestinal cell growth, in elaborating molecules that inhibit the growth and virulence of enteric bacterial pathogens, and in the detoxification of ingested substances that could otherwise lead to cancerous cell growth or alter our ability to metabolize medicines.[25,26]

Pharmacists will thus become more involved in counseling patients interested in taking probiotics. In Europe, probiotics are regarded as medicines and prescribed along with antibiotics.[27] In the U.S., pharmacists can advise patients to take such probiotic products as Culturelle, Florastor, or Lactinex while on antibiotics and for 3 to 7 days thereafter.[3] The same products can be taken to help prevent traveler's diarrhea. They should be taken a few days before the trip and continued through its duration. Instruct patients to separate any probiotic and antibiotic doses by 2 hours to prevent the antibiotic from destroying the probiotic organisms.[3] Immunocompromised patients should be advised not to use probiotics because of the potential for systemic infections. Other side effects can include GI upset (e.g., flatulence, discomfort).

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