Use of probiotics to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia: A survey of pharmacists' attitudes Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: The primary objective of this survey was to describe pharmacists' attitudes regarding probiotic use in the intensive care unit (ICU); secondary objectives were to evaluate pharmacists' knowledge and use of probiotics for critically ill patients. METHODS: The survey instrument was rigorously designed and pretested, then distributed in both English and French to Canadian ICU pharmacists. The online survey was open for 5 weeks, and 3 follow-up emails were sent to maximize response rates. RESULTS: Of 303 eligible surveys, 191 were returned (63.0%). Probiotics were available in the hospitals of 69.8% (113/162) of respondents, and 62.0% (101/163) indicated that they had used probiotics for at least 1 ICU patient in the previous year. Most pharmacists (137/171, 80.1%) said that they would "never" consider recommending probiotics for prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICU patients, and this response was more common (P = .0074) among pharmacists who were "unsure" about the safety of probiotics in this population when compared to those who felt that they knew how safe probiotics are. CONCLUSIONS: Most Canadian ICU pharmacists have used probiotics at least once in the ICU in the last year. However, based on uncertain efficacy and safety, most ICU pharmacists would not currently recommend probiotics for the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia.


  • Wheeler, Kathleen E
  • Cook, Deborah
  • Mehta, Sangeeta
  • Calce, Adriana
  • Guenette, Melanie
  • Perreault, Marc M
  • Thiboutot, Zoé
  • Duffett, Mark
  • Burry, Lisa

publication date

  • February 2016