Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 for the management of functional abdominal pain in childhood
Reviewer: Dr. Alan Gaby, MD
Author: Weizman Z, et al
Reference: Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 for the management of functional abdominal pain in childhood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Pediatr 2016;174: 160-164.e1.
Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Participants: One hundred one children (aged 6-15 years) with functional abdominal pain.
Study Medication and Dosage: Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 (108 colony-forming units per day) or placebo for 4 weeks.
Primary Outcome Measures: Frequency and severity of abdominal pain.
Key Findings: At 4 weeks, compared with placebo, the probiotic significantly decreased the mean frequency of abdominal pain by 47% (1.9 vs. 3.6 episodes per week; p < 0.02) and significantly decreased pain severity by 40% (p < 0.01). At 8 weeks (4 weeks after treatment was discontinued), compared with placebo, the probiotic nonsignificantly decreased mean pain frequency by 23% (p = 0.09) and significantly decreased mean pain severity by 25% (p < 0.02).
Practice Implications: L. reuteri DSM 17938 is a probiotic strain originally derived from breast milk. It has previously been found to be useful for preventing and treating infantile colic and for preventing the development of dental caries in children.[i] The results of the present study demonstrate that this probiotic strain is also an effective treatment for functional abdominal pain in children. It is noteworthy that the beneficial effect persisted (albeit to a somewhat lesser extent) 4 weeks after treatment was discontinued. That finding suggests that the organism colonized the gastrointestinal tract.
[i] Gaby AR. Nutritional Medicine, Second Edition, chapters 101 and 258. Concord, NH, 2017; doctorgaby.com.