Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 5:20 EDT

New Survey Suggests Priobiotics Could be the Key to Encouraging More Patients to Complete a Course of Antibiotics

November 18, 2013

LONDON, November 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

Better education is key to reduce ‘frightening’ levels of drug wastage.

A study of UK doctors carried out by the PCSG (Primary Care Society for
Gastroenterology) to coincide with European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November 2013)
suggests that patients who are given information about the impact of antibiotics on the
gut and the option of probiotics before being prescribed antibiotics are far more likely
to complete the full course.

Probiotics are increasingly recognised as giving a helping hand to the gut microbiota
- the colonies of friendly bacteria that we all have inside us, and that can be disrupted
by taking antibiotics.

Doctors quizzed in the survey say that at least half of patients who are told about
the workings of gut microbiota and how probiotics may help are likely to complete a course
of antibiotics, compared with just a third of patients who are not given this information
by their GPs.

The survey also showed that, like their patients, doctors are also becoming more aware
of the advantages of probiotics. A third now consider the possible impact of antibiotics
on gut microbiota when writing prescriptions.

Around over six in every hundred people are prescribed at least one course of
antibiotics every year. Yet as many as sixty per cent give up on them half way through,
according to many of the doctors quizzed in the survey.

Just five out of a hundred doctors surveyed were optimistic that three quarters of
their patients would finish their medicine. Perhaps more unnerving still, GPs thought 80
per cent compliance is the best it gets. No GP believed that more than this figure would
keep on taking the medicine.

On a national scale, that could add up to as many as two million courses of
antibiotics never being completed, leading to massive waste and the growing problem of
antibiotic resistance.

‘If talking to patients about the benefits of probiotics will encourage them to finish
their courses of antibiotics, it has to be good news,’ says Dr Patricia McNair, a PCSG
member and GP from Surrey. ‘This research points to the importance of patient knowledge
and education in helping to deal with what is likely to become one of the biggest health
issues of our time.’

The study was funded by Danone Ltd through an unrestricted educational grant that had
no influence on the results.


Research was carried out amongst 120 GPs in October 2013. Of these, 24 per cent were
in the south east, 9 per cent in Scotland, 10 per cent in the north west, 30 per cent in
the north east, 15 per cent in the Midlands, 8 per cent in the south west and 4 per cent
in Wales.

About the PCSG (Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology) – the voice of
gastroenterology in primary care. The society was launched in 1985 and has forged strong
links with several organisations both nationally and internationally. Bodies such as the
British Society of Gastroenterology, the Royal College of Physicians, NICE, and the RCGP
all consult the PCSG regularly on gastroenterological subjects so that policies and
guidelines can be influenced by primary care.


About European Antibiotics Awareness Day – an annual European public health initiative
that takes place on 18 November to raise awareness about the threat to public health of
antibiotic resistance and prudent antibiotic use. The latest data confirms that across the
European Union the number of patients infected by resistant bacteria is increasing and
that antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health.

Prudent use of antibiotics can help stop resistant bacteria from developing and help
keep antibiotics effective for the use of future generations.


Danone Ltd – is part of the Danone UK family includes Danone Waters UK & Ireland Ltd,
producers of Evian, Volvic and Badoit; Danone Ltd, producer of Activia, Shape, Actimel,
Oykos and danio; Danone Baby Nutrition; and Nutricia Medical.

A world leader in
fresh dairy products and bottled water, Group Danone employs over 80,000 people, across
five continents, in more than 120 countries.

http://www. [http://www.danone.com%E2%80%A8 ]danone.com [http://www.danone.com ]

SOURCE Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology

Source: PR Newswire