Original Research| Volume 43, ISSUE 12, e364-e376.e3, December 2021

Development of a Probiotics Practice E-Reference Database for Health Care Professionals


      • An online probiotics database was developed for use by healthcare professionals.
      • Database contained a total of 449 probiotic products and 584 clinical study excerpts.
      • Beta-testing was conducted among community pharmacists for feedback.
      • Overall, pharmacists were satisfied with the database and willing to use it again.
      • Database was intuitive to use and information was clear, comprehensive and useful.



      Currently available references provide evidence on the efficacy of probiotics strains but exclude product-specific information, making it challenging for health care professionals (HCPs) to provide consumers with suitable recommendations on probiotics. An online probiotics e-reference database was developed to assist HCPs in delivering evidence-based recommendations on probiotics to consumers. The usability and applicability of the database in health care practice were evaluated.


      Information on the efficacy of probiotics and probiotic products was collated using a PubMed literature search, and from local pharmacies and online supplement stores. A web database was compiled using various programming scripts and uploaded onto a web server. The database was beta-tested using an online self-administered questionnaire for community-based pharmacists, and responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics.


      The database comprised 584 clinical study excerpts, 449 probiotic products, and 1879 unique product-study links. Users can search for suitable probiotics based on their indication profile or for a specific probiotic product. Information provided includes the probiotic constituents, dosage regimen, and indications of the product, with supporting clinical evidence. Overall, all participants of the beta-test indicated that they were satisfied with the database and were willing to use it again (both, 13 participants [100%]). In addition, all participants indicated that they found the database intuitive to use and smooth functioning, without inconsistencies (both, 13 [100%]). The majority also indicated that they found the information provided to be clear, comprehensive, and useful in health care practice (12 [92.3%] each).


      The probiotics e-reference database is an integrated resource that is user-friendly, and provides HCPs with ready access to clear and comprehensive information on probiotic products and clinical studies, so that HCPs can provide consumers with relevant and evidence-based recommendations on probiotics.

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