Probiotic moderates diarrheal and RTI episodes

June 1, 2014

Used as a prophylactic, Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 significantly reduced the risk of developing diarrhea or a respiratory tract infection (RTI) in healthy, 6-month-old to 36-month-old children who attended daycare, a study conducted in Mexico showed.

 

Used as a prophylactic, Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 significantly reduced the risk of developing diarrhea or a respiratory tract infection (RTI) in healthy, 6-month-old to 36-month-old children who attended daycare, a study conducted in Mexico showed.

Investigators recruited subjects for the 6-month-long randomized trial-3 months of intervention and 3 months of follow-up-from 4 different daycare centers. Children in the intervention group received L reuteri in a single daily dose of 1x108 colony-forming units at their first feeding each day, using a dropper bottle containing an oil formulation of the probiotic. The control group was given a placebo.

During the intervention period, L reuteri supplementation reduced the number of days with diarrhea from 0.96 to 0.32 and from 1.1 to 0.5 during the follow-up. The probiotic also significantly reduced the number of diarrheal episodes and their duration during both the intervention and follow-up periods, with a total of 99 and 152 episodes reported in the probiotic and placebo groups, respectively, during the combined 6-month period. The average duration of diarrhea episodes was 1.6 days in the intervention group compared with 2.7 days in the placebo group.

Similarly, L reuteri supplementation reduced the number of days with an RTI from 4.6 to 1.5 during the intervention period and from 4.4 to 2.1 during follow-up. The probiotic also significantly reduced the number of episodes and duration of such infections in both periods. Compared with the placebo group, those receiving L reuteri also had far fewer school absences, medical visits, and days of antibiotic use (Gutierrez-Castrellon P, et al. Pediatrics. 2014;133[4]:e904-e908).

 

MS FREEDMAN is a freelance medical editor and writer in New Jersey. DR BURKE, section editor for Journal Club, is chairman of the department of Pediatrics at Saint Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. He is a physician contributing editor for Contemporary Pediatrics. The editors have nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.