How patients view probiotics: Findings from a multicenter study of patients with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome

Mary Beth Mercer, Margaret A. Brinich, Gail Geller, Krista Harrison, Janelle Highland, Katherine James, Patricia Marshall, Jennifer B. McCormick, Jon Tilburt, Jean Paul Achkar, Ruth M. Farrell, Richard R. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have access to a growing number of probiotic products marketed to improve digestive health. It is unclear how patients make decisions about probiotics and what role they expect their gastroenterologists to play as they consider using probiotics. Understanding patients' knowledge, attitudes and expectations of probiotics may help gastroenterologists engage patients in collaborative discussions about probiotics. Study: Focus groups were conducted with patients with IBD and IBS at the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins University. Inductive analytic methods were used to identify common themes and draw interpretations from focus group narratives. Results: One hundred thirty-six patients participated in 22 focus groups between March and August 2009. Patients viewed probiotics as an appealing alternative to pharmaceutical drugs and understood probiotics as a more "natural," low-risk therapeutic option. Many patients were hesitant to use them without consulting their gastroenterologists. Patients would weigh the risks and benefits of probiotics, their disease severity and satisfaction with current treatments when considering probiotic use. Conclusions: Patients are interested in probiotics but have many unanswered questions about their use. Our findings suggest that patients with IBD and IBS will look to gastroenterologists and other clinicians as trustworthy advisors regarding the utility of probiotics as an alternative or supplement to pharmaceutical drugs. Gastroenterologists and other clinicians who care for patients with these diseases should be prepared to discuss the potential benefits and risks of probiotics and assist patients in making informed decisions about their use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Probiotics
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Multicenter Studies
Focus Groups
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Decision Making
Patient Care
Gastroenterologists

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Mercer, Mary Beth ; Brinich, Margaret A. ; Geller, Gail ; Harrison, Krista ; Highland, Janelle ; James, Katherine ; Marshall, Patricia ; McCormick, Jennifer B. ; Tilburt, Jon ; Achkar, Jean Paul ; Farrell, Ruth M. ; Sharp, Richard R. / How patients view probiotics : Findings from a multicenter study of patients with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. In: Journal of clinical gastroenterology. 2012 ; Vol. 46, No. 2. pp. 138-144.
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abstract = "Background: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have access to a growing number of probiotic products marketed to improve digestive health. It is unclear how patients make decisions about probiotics and what role they expect their gastroenterologists to play as they consider using probiotics. Understanding patients' knowledge, attitudes and expectations of probiotics may help gastroenterologists engage patients in collaborative discussions about probiotics. Study: Focus groups were conducted with patients with IBD and IBS at the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins University. Inductive analytic methods were used to identify common themes and draw interpretations from focus group narratives. Results: One hundred thirty-six patients participated in 22 focus groups between March and August 2009. Patients viewed probiotics as an appealing alternative to pharmaceutical drugs and understood probiotics as a more {"}natural,{"} low-risk therapeutic option. Many patients were hesitant to use them without consulting their gastroenterologists. Patients would weigh the risks and benefits of probiotics, their disease severity and satisfaction with current treatments when considering probiotic use. Conclusions: Patients are interested in probiotics but have many unanswered questions about their use. Our findings suggest that patients with IBD and IBS will look to gastroenterologists and other clinicians as trustworthy advisors regarding the utility of probiotics as an alternative or supplement to pharmaceutical drugs. Gastroenterologists and other clinicians who care for patients with these diseases should be prepared to discuss the potential benefits and risks of probiotics and assist patients in making informed decisions about their use.",
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Mercer, MB, Brinich, MA, Geller, G, Harrison, K, Highland, J, James, K, Marshall, P, McCormick, JB, Tilburt, J, Achkar, JP, Farrell, RM & Sharp, RR 2012, 'How patients view probiotics: Findings from a multicenter study of patients with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome', Journal of clinical gastroenterology, vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 138-144. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0b013e318225f545

How patients view probiotics : Findings from a multicenter study of patients with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. / Mercer, Mary Beth; Brinich, Margaret A.; Geller, Gail; Harrison, Krista; Highland, Janelle; James, Katherine; Marshall, Patricia; McCormick, Jennifer B.; Tilburt, Jon; Achkar, Jean Paul; Farrell, Ruth M.; Sharp, Richard R.

In: Journal of clinical gastroenterology, Vol. 46, No. 2, 01.02.2012, p. 138-144.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - Findings from a multicenter study of patients with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome

AU - Mercer, Mary Beth

AU - Brinich, Margaret A.

AU - Geller, Gail

AU - Harrison, Krista

AU - Highland, Janelle

AU - James, Katherine

AU - Marshall, Patricia

AU - McCormick, Jennifer B.

AU - Tilburt, Jon

AU - Achkar, Jean Paul

AU - Farrell, Ruth M.

AU - Sharp, Richard R.

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N2 - Background: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have access to a growing number of probiotic products marketed to improve digestive health. It is unclear how patients make decisions about probiotics and what role they expect their gastroenterologists to play as they consider using probiotics. Understanding patients' knowledge, attitudes and expectations of probiotics may help gastroenterologists engage patients in collaborative discussions about probiotics. Study: Focus groups were conducted with patients with IBD and IBS at the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins University. Inductive analytic methods were used to identify common themes and draw interpretations from focus group narratives. Results: One hundred thirty-six patients participated in 22 focus groups between March and August 2009. Patients viewed probiotics as an appealing alternative to pharmaceutical drugs and understood probiotics as a more "natural," low-risk therapeutic option. Many patients were hesitant to use them without consulting their gastroenterologists. Patients would weigh the risks and benefits of probiotics, their disease severity and satisfaction with current treatments when considering probiotic use. Conclusions: Patients are interested in probiotics but have many unanswered questions about their use. Our findings suggest that patients with IBD and IBS will look to gastroenterologists and other clinicians as trustworthy advisors regarding the utility of probiotics as an alternative or supplement to pharmaceutical drugs. Gastroenterologists and other clinicians who care for patients with these diseases should be prepared to discuss the potential benefits and risks of probiotics and assist patients in making informed decisions about their use.

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