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Probiotic therapy cuts risk of VAP in half for some in ICU
Date:6/16/2010

a single center to receive either placebo or probiotic therapy. Patients in the treatment arm received 2 x 109 colony-forming units of Lactobacillus rhamnosus twice dailyhalf the dose was administered as a slurry to the oropharynx and the remainder was given through nasogatsric tube. After almost 5 years, the researchers found that daily use of probiotics not only decreased VAP infections by about 50 percent compared to placebo, but also reduced the amount of antibiotics needed in comparison to placebo-treated patients. This reduction in antibiotic consumption led to significantly fewer Clostridium difficile infections in patients given probiotics. No side effects attributable to the probiotics were observed.

Meta analysis of similar studies shows an overall reduction in VAP of 39 percent with probiotics.

"Collectively, these data suggest that Lactobacillus may represent a novel, inexpensive (retail price, $2.13 per day for four tablets as administered per protocol), and non-antibiotic approach to prevention of nosocomial infections in properly selected ICU patients," said Dr. Morrow.

Because the patients were carefully selected to reduce the risk of iatrogenic infection, and over 90 percent of patients in the ICU were deemed ineligible for the study, it is important to note, Dr. Morrow cautioned, that these findings are not applicable to all ICU patients and probiotics should not be used for VAP prophylaxis beyond the population that was included in this study.

"We strongly emphasize that these data should be viewed as preliminary in nature and cannot be generalized to the general ICU population given the prolonged period of enrolment, the rigorous inclusion criteria, the large number of exclusion criteria and the small number of patients included.

Other studies have found potentially harmful effects of probiotics, underscoring the need for meticulous monitoring of patients.

"Probiotic prophylaxis of VAP usi
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-860-5814
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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