, 7 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
Probiotics: are they useful? A brief thread.
As we learn more about the idiosyncrasies of the microbiome, clinicians and armchair pharmacists alike have heralded probiotics for everything from the treatment of gastroenteritis to daily supplementation for weight loss, skin rejuvenation, or even increased cognitive function.
Unfortunately—and predictably—most of these investigations have fallen flat.
The intestinal microbiome is dynamic, complex, and context-dependent, and attempting to manipulate this otherwise appropriately functioning system has proven a fruitless endeavor in countless endeavors.
There does seem to be one area where probiotics continue to shine, though. When co-prescribed alongside antibiotics, probiotics have a number needed to treat (NNT) of just 13 to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
It’s not as sexy or headline-grabbing as pounds lost or brain power amplified, but with nearly 40% of those taking antibiotics experiencing AAD, and 150,000 ED visits a year for antibiotic-related adverse events, this is a huge benefit.
So, next time you prescribe (or are prescribed) a course of antibiotics, consider adding probiotics alongside. They’re available over-the-counter at the pharmacy, or even in that cup of @Dannon yogurt at the supermarket. Such a small change can make a huge difference!
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