European General Practitioners perceptions on probiotics: Results of a multinational survey

A. M. van der Geest*, J. Flach, E. Claassen, A. W. Sijlmans, L. H.M. van de Burgwal, O. F.A. Larsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Public opinion and consumer adoption of probiotics is influenced by the perception and recommendations of General Practitioners (GPs), but the perceptions and recommendations of European GPs currently appear to be underreported. This paper therefore relates the perceptions of European GPs towards probiotics with their recommendations. Standardized telephonic interviews were conducted with 1318 GPs to assess current perceptions. Fisher's exact tests were performed to quantify the relationship between perceptions and recommendation behavior. 80 % of GPs recommend probiotics in their practice at least sometimes, primarily for antibiotic associated diarrhoea, infectious diarrhea and abdominal pain. GPs that are familiar with the mode of action of probiotics, and/or who perceive them to be safe or efficacious, are more likely to recommend probiotics. The relation between non-recommending behavior and disagreeing on one of the statements seems to be weaker, suggesting that other factors such as culture/previous experiences could be responsible for their non-recommending behavior. Perceptions of European GPs towards probiotics are predominantly positive. Additional research is needed to identify whether and to what extent proximal factors, such as social norms and culture are of influence on the perceptions and recommendation behavior of currently non-recommending GPs to foster innovation in this domain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100178
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
Early online date9 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Efficacy
  • General Practitioners
  • Perceptions
  • Probiotics
  • Recommendations
  • Safety


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