Medical doctors’ perceptions on probiotics: Lack of efficacy data hampers innovation

J. Flach, A.S.M. Dias, S.H.M. Rademaker, M.B. van der Waal, E. Claassen, O.F.A. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review



The probiotic innovation cycle appears to be hampered and while important barriers have been postulated, the influence of medical doctors (MD) on probiotic innovation remains largely unaddressed.


The present study aims to complement current views on probiotic innovation barriers by reviewing the perceptions of MD on probiotics.


A pilot tested survey was sent to 1676 general practitioners and 741 medical specialists in the Netherlands to address current perceptions.


The responses of 208 general practitioners and 207 medical specialists were included in the data-analysis. Half of MD (51%) advised probiotics in their practice, primarily for AAD (74%) and IBS (51%). Lack of evidence was the primary reason for MD not to advise probiotics (53%). Significantly less non-advisers perceived probiotics to be safe (62% vs 82%) and efficacious (24% vs. 64%) compared to advisers, where they primarily used conventional media (radio, television and newspapers) as their source of information (73% vs. 39%). Probiotic efficacy data is the preferred type of future information for all MD (72%).


In order to improve the perceptions of MD on probiotics and to advance innovations in this field, more large-scale randomized controlled trials are required that demonstrate probiotic efficacy in adherence with strict Good Clinical Practice guidelines
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2017


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