Sunday, 12 June 2011

Probiotics (Living Drugs)

Probiotics (Living Drugs)

Probiotics are live microorganisms or microbial mixtures administered to improve the patient's microbial balance, particularly the environment of the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina.Probiotics have demonstrated an ability to prevent and treat some infections.Probiotics can be bacteria,moulds or yeast.Commonly used bacterial strains are Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium.Commonly used yeast strain is Saccharomyces boulardii.

The human digestive tract is home to over 400 species of microorganisms, of which some are good ones while others are harmful to our body. Probiotics is the answer to keep the harmful ones at bay. According to the definition adopted by WHO, probiotics are "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host." probiotics are new generation biotechnology drugs and are considered relatively safe and may exert their action: by producing pathogen-inhibitory substances, inhibition of pathogen attachment, inhibition of the action of microbial toxins, stimulation of immunoglobulin A, trophic effects on intestinal mucosa etc.

Effective use of probiotics could decrease patients' exposure to antimicrobials.Probiotics normally prevent proliferation of pathogenic bacteria in the gut. So whenever they are suspected to be deficient or whenever massive infection of the gut with pathogenic bacteria is suspected, probiotics are administered to counter the balance in favour of probiotics or healthful bacteria.There is also encouraging evidence for the use of probiotics to prevent and treat infections of the urinary tract or female genital tract. Probiotics are also useful in treating irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.Probiotics are effective for the treatment of antibiotic induced diarrhoea or infectious diarrhoea, travellers' diarrhoea, infantile diarrhoea, constipation, Salmonella and Shigella infections, lactose intolerance and flatulence.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the most commonly used probiotic.It inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.Patients who are suffering from diarrhea are given lactobacillus as a suppliment.It is also used in the treatment of urinary tract and vaginal infections.Cefixime and lactobacillus combination is devoleped to reduce the gastrointestinal side effects of cefixime.

Probiotics are increasingly preferred over antibiotics by doctors. Reason being, antibiotics reduce the immunity of patients, whereas probiotics help enhance immunity.

A good probiotic agent needs to be non-pathogenic and non-toxic, resistant to gastric acid and bile and must reach the intestines alive in large numbers. It should transiently grow in the gut and impart health benefits to the host.

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