Insufficient Evidence to Support Probiotics for Crying Infants

(HealthDay News) – There is still insufficient evidence to support probiotic use to manage colic, especially in formula-fed infants, or to prevent infant crying, according to a review published online Oct. 7 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Valerie Sung, MPH, from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues conducted a literature review to identify studies that randomized infants <3 months to oral probiotics, placebo, or standard treatment, with the outcome of infant crying. Crying was measured as the duration or number of episodes of infant crying/distress or diagnosis of “infant colic.”

The researchers found that half of the 12 included studies concluded that probiotics reduced crying. Of the five management trials, three concluded probiotics effectively treated colic in breastfed babies; one suggested possible effectiveness in formula-fed babies with colic; and one suggested ineffectiveness in breastfed babies with colic. Lactobacillus reuteri markedly reduced crying time at 21 days, according to a meta-analysis of three small trials of breastfed infants with colic. All trials had potential biases. Two of the seven prevention trials suggested possible benefits, but meta-analysis could not be conducted because of considerable variability in the studies.

“Results from larger rigorously designed studies applicable to all crying infants will help draw more definitive conclusions,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the food and nutrition industry.

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