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Probiotic Not Found Beneficial for Infants With Colic

No benefit seen for Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 use in breastfed, formula fed infants

THURSDAY, April 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Use of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 does not provide benefit for breastfed or formula fed infants with colic, according to a study published online April 1 in BMJ.

Valerie Sung, M.B.B.S., from the Royal Children's Hospital in Parkville, Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial to examine whether the probiotic L. reuteri DSM 17938 reduces crying or fussing in a sample of 167 breastfed or formula fed infants. The infants, aged younger than 3 months, met Wessel's criteria for crying or fussing and were randomized to receive probiotic (85 infants) or placebo (82 infants).

Of the infants, 127 (76 percent) were assessed for the primary outcome of daily duration of cry or fuss at one month. The researchers found that in both groups there was a steady decrease in mean daily cry or fuss. At one month, the probiotic group cried or fussed significantly more than the placebo group (49 minutes more; P = 0.02). This was mainly due to more fussing, especially among formula fed infants. There were no significant differences between the groups in secondary outcomes, including number of cry or fuss episodes, sleep duration, maternal mental health, family functioning, and infant functioning. There were no study-related adverse outcomes.

"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," the authors write.

BioGaia Sweden supplied the investigational product and placebo at no cost. Several authors disclosed financial ties to the nutrition industry, including Nestlé, which produces probiotic research products.

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