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BMJ. 2014 Apr 1;348:g2107. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g2107.

Treating infant colic with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: double blind, placebo controlled randomised trial.

Author information

  • 1Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 reduces crying or fussing in a broad community based sample of breastfed infants and formula fed infants with colic aged less than 3 months.

DESIGN:

Double blind, placebo controlled randomised trial.

SETTING:

Community based sample (primary and secondary level care centres) in Melbourne, Australia.

PARTICIPANTS:

167 breastfed infants or formula fed infants aged less than 3 months meeting Wessel's criteria for crying or fussing: 85 were randomised to receive probiotic and 82 to receive placebo.

INTERVENTIONS:

Oral daily L reuteri (1 × 10(8) colony forming units) versus placebo for one month.

MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES:

The primary outcome was daily duration of cry or fuss at 1 month. Secondary outcomes were duration of cry or fuss; number of cry or fuss episodes; sleep duration of infant at 7, 14, and 21 days, and 1 and 6 months; maternal mental health (Edinburgh postnatal depression subscale); family functioning (paediatric quality of life inventory), parent quality adjusted life years (assessment of quality of life) at 1 and 6 months; infant functioning (paediatric quality of life inventory) at 6 months; infant faecal microbiota (microbial diversity, colonisation with Escherichia coli), and calprotectin levels at 1 month. In intention to treat analyses the two groups were compared using regression models adjusted for potential confounders.

RESULTS:

Of 167 infants randomised from August 2011 to August 2012, 127 (76%) were retained to primary outcome; of these, a subset was analysed for faecal microbial diversity, E coli colonisation, and calprotectin levels. Adherence was high. Mean daily cry or fuss time fell steadily in both groups. At 1 month, the probiotic group cried or fussed 49 minutes more than the placebo group (95% confidence interval 8 to 90 minutes, P=0.02); this mainly reflected more fussing, especially for formula fed infants. The groups were similar on all secondary outcomes. No study related adverse events occurred.

CONCLUSIONS:

L reuteri DSM 17938 did not benefit a community sample of breastfed infants and formula fed infants with colic. These findings differ from previous smaller trials of selected populations and do not support a general recommendation for the use of probiotics to treat colic in infants.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN95287767.

PMID:
24690625
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3972414
Free PMC Article
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