Lactinex™ is a non-prescription probiotic dietary supplement. Coming as grains or tablets, it is most commonly used to treat diarrhea and conditions of the colon such as irritable bowel syndrome. The supplement works by increasing the number of gut flora, or microorganisms, in the gastrointestinal tract. These bacteria are necessary for healthy elimination and are normally naturally present in the system. It is often recommended by doctors after the use of antibiotics has killed an excessive number of these microorganisms.
The primary active ingredient of Lactinex™ is bacteria from the Lactobacillus genus. It also contains whey powder, milk, and soy peptone. The good bacteria in this supplement help keep the body healthy by killing harmful bacteria and assisting in the process of breaking down food so that waste can travel through the gastrointestinal system. In addition to the intestines, these bacteria are also naturally present in the vagina.
The method of taking the supplement depends upon the form. Granules are usually sprinkled on food, whereas tablets are chewed then followed with a small amount of fluid and, ideally, a meal as well. Many doctors suggest it be taken three to four times daily. As it contains living organisms, the supplement should be refrigerated.
Though a prescription is not required to take Lactinex™, patients should inform their doctor of all medications and supplements being taken before using the drug. Individuals who are taking antibiotics will typically require additional observation by a doctor and potentially need to take an adjusted dosage, as the helpful bacteria in Lactinex™ usually cannot survive the effects of the drug. Experiences with recurring vaginal infections, stomach ailments, and excessive diarrhea should also be discussed with a doctor, as they increase the risk of taking the supplement.
There are other conditions which make taking Lactinex™ too risky. Women who are nursing or pregnant are typically advised not to take the drug. It is also problematic for patients who are allergic to soy, lactose, or milk products.
Aside from a possible temporary increase in stomach gas, there are not any commonly reported side effects of taking the supplement. It is possible to have an allergic reaction to the drug, in which case emergency medical attention should be sought. People who already have other allergies or suffer from asthma are at a higher risk of adverse side effects. An allergic reaction may include breathing problems, swelling in the areas from the neck up, and a tight chest. Itching, rash, or hives may also develop.