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Probiotic Use in Children

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A flood of probiotic products has hit the market, and consumer interest in the potential health benefits of “good bacteria” is growing rapidly. Over the 12-month period from 2010 to 2011, sales of probiotic-containing foods grew by over 30% in the U.S., with consumer spending on foods and supplements reaching nearly $1.2 billion. As early as 2007, “prebiotics or probiotics” were ranked the fifth most frequently used nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural product in children. The number of human studies of probiotics has quadrupled since 2000, with a wide range of potential therapeutic and preventive uses – including gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, allergy, and infections – being evaluated.

Probiotics are available in the U.S. as dietary supplements (including capsules, tablets, powders) and in infant formulas and dairy foods such as yogurt. Selected products are detailed on page 4. Despite increased awareness of probiotics, many consumers are confused about what they contain, what effects they have on the body, which strains or products are the best choices, and how to use them. Consumers may not be aware that, despite the growth in research, there is not yet strong scientific evidence to support many of the health claims for probiotics. This issue gives a general overview of probiotics, including common strains, safety, dosing, and current regulatory issues. Commonly studied conditions for probiotic use in children, namely acute infectious diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and eczema (atopic dermatitis), will be discussed in detail. The community healthcare provider is uniquely positioned to help consumers sort out the facts and misconceptions about probiotics, so they can make informed choices.


Publication Date: 12/18/2012
Expiration Date: 12/18/2015
CE Credit: 1.5 (0.15 CEU)
Type of Activity: Knowledge-based

This program was developed by The Rx Consultant and published by Continuing Education Network, Inc. The Rx Consultant accepts no advertising or financial support from the pharmaceutical industry and is funded solely by the purchase of programs. The Rx Consultant is dedicated to providing unbiased, balanced information to health care practitioners.

Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.


Brooke L. Honey, PharmD, BCPS, AE-C, Bob John, PharmD, BCPS, Tracy Farnen, PharmD and Pamela Mausner, MD

Disclosure Statement

Dr. Honey, Dr. John, Dr. Farnen and Dr. Mausner report no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing, reselling, or distributing a product or service that appears in this issue.

Target Audience

This accredited program is targeted to pharmacists .

Goals & Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:

    1. Define probiotic, and describe how probiotics differ from prebiotics, synbiotics, and live active cultures. Describe at least 2 mechanisms by which probiotics may act.
    2. Name at least 3 widely used probiotic species. Discuss the importance of the specific strain to probiotic effects.
    3. Discuss the evidence for probiotic use in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, C. difficile infection, and eczema in children.

Accreditation Statements

The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.

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Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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Continuing Education Network is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13118. Programs approved by CA BRN are accepted by most State Boards of Nursing.

ACPE Universal Activity Number: 0428-0000-13-001-H01-P

Exam & Credit Statement Procedures

Upon successful completion of this program and the post test (70%), 1.5 hours of continuing education credit will be awarded. To receive credit and your exam score, please complete the exam questions and program evaluation.

Editorial and Review Board

Chief Editor and CE Administrator

Terry M. Baker, PharmD

Managing Editor

Tracy Farnen, PharmD

Associate Editors

James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, CA

Associate Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Richard Ron Finley, B.S. Pharm.,R.Ph.
Clinical Pharmacist (volunteer faculty)
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center
Lecturer (Emeritus) UCSF, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCSF School of Pharmacy
San Francisco, CA

Consultant Pharmacist
Ray Dolby Brain Health Center, Sutter Health/CPMC
San Francisco, CA

Consult Pharmacist Aging and Adult Health Services
San Francisco Health Department
San Francisco, CA

Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Chief of Pharmacy Service
VA Northern California Health Care System

Adjunct Clinical Professor
College of Pharmacy
Touro University
Vallejo, CA

Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA Adjunct Professor
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
University of the Pacific
Stockton, CA

Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Nursing School
Samuel Merritt University
Oakland, CA

Pamela Mausner, MD

Helen Berlie, Pharm.D. CDE, BCACP
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI

Ambulatory Care Specialist - Diabetes
Health Centers Detroit Medical Group
Detroit, MI

Senior Editorial Advisor

Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD

Editorial Advisors

Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD

Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners

Emily K.
Meuleman, RN, C, MS

About the Rx Consultant

The Rx Consultant is a monthly publication dedicated to providing health care professionals with the information they need to educate patients about drugs and manage drug therapy. The reader is responsible for confirming the information presented here and interpreting it in relation to each patient's specific situation before utilizing the information.

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