Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri May Reduce Crying Time in Infants with Colic Symptoms

DynaMed Weekly Update - Volume 5, Issue 34

Colic can be stressful for newborns and new parents alike. Previous research has suggested that L. reuteri may reduce symptoms compared to simethicone in colicky infants (Pediatrics 2007 Jan;119(1):e124). A new blinded, placebo-controlled trial with 50 infants provides further support for the efficacy of probiotics. Infants aged 2-16 weeks old with fussy crying episodes lasting at least 3 hours over at least 3 days (modified Wessel’s criteria for colic diagnosis) were randomized to L. reuteri vs. placebo for 21 days. L. reuteri was given as 108 colony-forming units in 5 drops of oil suspension, 30 minutes before morning feeding. All infants had been exclusively breastfed, and mothers were asked to avoid cow’s milk during the trial. At baseline, the median crying time was 370 minutes per day for the L. reuteri group and 300 minutes per day for controls (not significant). At 21 days follow-up, the L. reuteri group had significantly reduced crying time (median total crying time 35 minutes per day vs. 90 minutes per day, p = 0.022) (level 2 [mid-level] evidence). The proportion of infants with at least 50% reduction in crying time from baseline was significantly higher in the L. reuteri group at 7, 14, and 21 days (Pediatrics 2010 Sep;126(3):e526).

For more information, see the Infantile colic topic in DynaMed.