ANTIGONISH, CANADA. Lindsey Edmunds, a high school student in Nova Scotia, reports on a study she recently undertook to see if physicians in Nova Scotia routinely prescribed probiotics to prevent side effects of antibiotics. Treatment with antibiotics often causes diarrhea and other related complaints that can be prevented by supplementing with probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus that produce a healthy intestinal environment. Lindsey received replies to her questionnaire from 68 physicians all of whom stated that they prescribe antibiotics on a regular basis. Only 21 of them (32 per cent) recommended that patients take probiotics with their antibiotics. Ten said that they do so always or often while the remaining 11 seldom did. Only 12 physicians (18 per cent) were aware of any research on probiotics. The majority (62 per cent) was either not aware of any research or felt that there was not enough research to warrant the use of probiotics.
Edmunds, Lindsey. The underuse of probiotics by family physicians. Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 164, May 29, 2001, p. 1577 (research letter)