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Study Finds Probiotic Doesn't Help Infant Colic, Contrary to Previous Findings — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 2, 2014

Study Finds Probiotic Doesn't Help Infant Colic, Contrary to Previous Findings

By Amy Orciari Herman

A new BMJ study calls into question previous findings that Lactobacillus reuteri helps reduce infant colic.

Some 170 breast- or formula-fed infants (age, <3 months) presenting at urgent care centers with colic were randomized to receive daily L. reuteri or placebo drops. At 1 month, the mean daily crying or fussing time had fallen in both groups, but it was 49 minutes longer with the probiotic than with placebo. None of the secondary outcomes, including infant sleep duration and maternal mental health, differed between the groups.

"This represents the most definitive and well-designed study to date on this controversial topic," an editorialist writes. Noting the "dearth of good evidence" for all colic interventions, he asks whether we should be treating the condition at all. Ultimately, he concludes: "Parents and their babies may be better served if we devote more resources to studying the interventions recommended long before the discovery of probiotics: reassurance, family social support, and the tincture of time."

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