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Probiotic drops calm colicky infants

By Dominique Patton , 05-Sep-2005

Probiotic bacteria drops appear to reduce the symptoms of colic in breast-feeding infants and could offer a natural, more effective alternative to conventional treatment, say researchers.

The study, carried out on BioGaia's Reuteri bacteria, found that after a month of taking the probiotic oil drops, parents reported significantly less screaming in their children.

The findings were presented this weekend at the European Society for Paediatric Research Meeting in Siena, Italy.

Colic, which causes recurrent screaming in infants for at least three hours per day and at least three days per week, affects roughly 10 per cent of all children. Its cause, however, is unclear.

However Dr Francesco Savino and colleagues at Turin's University Hospital have in earlier studies shown that infants with inconsolable screaming have an imbalance in their intestinal microflora, which could explain why these infants are contracting colic.

For the new study, they gave 46 breast-feeding infants (21-90 days old) with colic either Reuteri drops or a drug containing the substance simethicone, the standard treatment in Europe.

Parents noted each day, for 28 days, how long their infant screamed.

When the study started, infants screamed for on average 3 hours and 20 minutes per day. After seven days the infants that received Reuteri drops only screamed 140 minutes compared with 172 minutes in the other group.

After 28 days the time that the infants screamed for was reduced further to 20 minutes for those that took Reuteri drops compared with 156 minutes for those that took the standard treatment.

In an interview earlier this month, BioGaia managing director Peter Rothschild told that the drops have proved very popular since their launch earlier this year.

"Doctors really like it and the product is now an easy sell," he said.

Further studies will be carried out on the product, noted the company.

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