What are the risks of probiotics?
Unquantifiable and unknown risks
What can we do to minimize potential risks associated with probiotic use?
Characterization, identification and sensitivity testing of probiotic strains
Regulated preparation and administration
Some relevant questions
- –Is there a notification process that allows relevant departments to know that probiotics are being used?
- –Can the laboratory culture the strains being used?
- –Are the antibiotic susceptibility profile(s) of the probiotic strains known?
- –Are there patients who should not be exposed to probiotics within the environment in which probiotics are being used?
- –Is there potential for contamination of equipment, intravenous solutions and foodstuffs?
- –Food companies producing probiotics should provide evidence regarding the purity of the bacterial strain(s) used and the lack of contamination of their products.
- –Characterization and antibiotic sensitivities of each probiotic strain should be available prior to its utilization.
- –Training of staff in the preparation and administration of probiotics should be provided by the manufacturing company.
- –All relevant individuals and departments should be informed of the use of probiotics.
- –The infection control team should be involved in the clinical use and surveillance of probiotics.
- –Specialized preparation and storage areas should be provided on every ward utilizing probiotics.
- –Patients in whom the effect of probiotics has not been assessed or is potentially detrimental should be nursed in a probiotic-free environment.
Conflict of interest statement
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