Probiotics May Help Relieve Colic in Breast-Fed Infants

Safety of probiotics adds to their therapeutic appeal

THURSDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Probiotics may help relieve infantile colic in breast-fed infants, according to the results of a randomized study published in the January issue of Pediatrics.

Francesco Savino, M.D., of Regina Margherita Children's Hospital in Turin, Italy, and colleagues randomized 90 breast-fed, colicky infants to receive either the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri (100 million live bacteria per day) or 60 mg/day of simethicone for 28 days. All the mothers consumed a diet free of cow's milk-derived products.

By the 28th day, 95 percent of colicky infants in the probiotic group were considered responders compared with 7 percent in the simethicone group. The median crying times at one week were 177 minutes per day in the simethicone group and 159 minutes per day in the probiotic group. At 28 days, they were 145 minutes and 51 minutes per day in the simethicone and probiotic groups, respectively. There were no adverse effects of the treatment.

"Our results suggest a potential role of L. reuteri as a new therapeutic approach to infantile colic," the study authors conclude. "The safety profile of probiotics makes them a favorable alternative to all other therapeutic options for breast-fed infants with colic."

The authors had no financial relationships to disclose.

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