Updated 14 August 2017

Probiotics don't protect against antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Hospital patients are under threat by bacteria that are attacking ICU patients, making it difficult to fight off the rapid spread of infections.

Probiotics don't protect the intestines of critically ill patients against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a new study indicates.

"Probiotic use is an intriguing topic," lead author Dr Jennie Kwon, a clinical researcher in infectious disease at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in a university news release.

'Good bacteria'

"With fewer therapies available to treat multidrug-resistant organisms, innovative methods to prevent or eliminate gastrointestinal colonisation (by bacteria) are necessary," she explained.

Colonisation is the first step before a full-blown infection can develop, the study authors explained.

Read: The benefits of probiotics

The current research included 70 patients in intensive care units who received either standard care or probiotics twice a day for up to two weeks.

Probiotics are live microorganisms popularly called "good" bacteria. Probiotics are believed to boost a person's resistance to harmful germs, the researchers said.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria colonised the intestines of 10 percent of patients who received probiotics and 15 percent of those who got standard care. However, this difference was not statistically significant, the researchers noted.

The study was published online, in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Drug-resistant bacteria pose a serious threat to hospital patients because they increase the risk of hard-to-treat infections that spread easily, the researchers said.

Kwon said that further study should be done to see if other groups of people, such as those who are less ill, might be helped with probiotics.

Read more:

What you need to know about Lp299v probiotics

Probiotics against IBS

Probiotics with antibiotics may prevent diarrhoea

Image: Medication from iStock


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.