Antibiotics consumption is increasing worldwide, yet these therapies not only destroy pathogens but also damage our vital intestinal flora.
#Many studies show that the intestinal flora changes after only one shot of antibiotic treatment. After four days of antibiotic medication, the disturbance of the human microbiome is still present even six months later. What was even more disturbing in some studies was that strong “reserve antibiotics” significantly damaged ‘good’ bacteria. They paved the way for new, unknown microorganisms to colonise in the human gut and as a result, more pathogenic germs emerged.
Relatively often, antibiotics administered during hospitalisation lead to severe gastrointestinal disorders and even more dangerous infections with Clostridium difficile (CDI). In oncology, it is well known that roughly 25% of patients die due to severe diarrhoea caused by the combination of their cancer treatment with antibiotics.
The pharmaceutical world is understandably interested in probiotic bacteria and their potential to protect patients from the severe side effects of these treatments.
Antibiotics and Children
Significant new studies reveal that children receive antibiotics more frequently than adults despite the severe associated impacts. Antibiotic treatment in early life reduces microbial gut diversity, favours the development of antibiotic resistance, and increases the risk of severe dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is one of the most significant risk factors for developing autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and hypersensitivity reactions, allergies and rashes such as atopic dermatitis.
The risk of developing allergies is twice as high in children who take antibiotics within the first six months after birth in comparison to those who don’t. Is there a better alternative? We can see that a healthy immune system develops by taking probiotics during pregnancy and the first year of life.
High-quality multispecies probiotics in the prevention of antibiotic-associated complications
Clinicians recommend probiotics for many indications ranging from the long-term immunomodulatory effects to proven benefits in the management of different clinical conditions. High-quality multispecies probiotics prevent antibiotic-associated complications. They contain strains selected for their impacts on pathogen inhibition, lowering the pH in the human gut via the production of lactic acid, and also for their colonisation capacities and immunomodulatory effects. Proven synergy is vital to increase efficacy and allows for reliable recolonisation despite simultaneous antibiotic therapies. Selection of probiotic strains should be evidence-based, considering in vivo as well as in vitro data. Most importantly, all bacterial strains should be able to colonise in the human gut.
These beneficial properties of selected strains in high-quality probiotics counteract antibiotic-associated complications like diarrhoea or CDIs. Several studies show that the formulation of B.bifidum W23, B.lactis W18, B.longum W51, E.faecium W54, L.acidophilus W37, L-acidophilus W55, L.paracasei W72, L.plantarum W62, L.rhamnosus W71 and L.salivarius W24 was both more effective in preventing C.diff proliferation than antibiotics and of decreasing the release of the C.diff toxin A and B to zero within 48 hours.
Real-world results prove probiotic value in fighting C.diff
The literature mentions the incidence of AAD (antibiotic-associated diarrhoea) after antibiotic treatment with up to a 50% frequency. A real-world study of 85 surgical patients conducted in a large Austrian oncology centre investigated the impact of a probiotic formulation known as Ecologic® AAD, or OMNi-BiOTiC® 10, on the incidence of gastrointestinal infections, including CDIs. All patients needed antibiotic treatment due to their underlying condition or a special surgical issue. Patients received the multispecies probiotic twice daily during antibiotic treatment concomitantly.
None of the patients receiving this high-quality probiotic suffered from diarrhoea during the intake of antibiotics as well as chemotherapy. None of the patients demonstrated any colonisation of Clostridium difficile. Since then, every patient in this centre needing antibiotic therapy has also taken OMNi-BiOTiC® 10. For three years, they have not observed any institution born Clostridium difficile infection.
Many pharmaceutical companies have stopped research on new antibiotic treatments, which is likely to be a growing problem in modern healthcare. However, besides the destruction of the microbiota, antibiotics are associated with enormous complications. Perhaps we can see this as a chance to develop the very best multispecies probiotics to fight not only the antibiotic-associated side effects but even the infections themselves.
Anita Frauwallner is CEO at Institut Allergosan.