Background: Helicobacter pylori eradication fails in about 25-30% of children, particularly because of the occurrence of resistance to antibiotics and side-effects.
Aim: To determine whether adding the Lactobacillus reuteri to an anti-H. pylori regimen could help to prevent or minimize the gastrointestinal side-effects burden in children.
Methods: Forty H. pylori-positive children (21 males; median age: 12.3 years) were consecutively treated with 10-day sequential therapy [omeprazole + amoxycillin for 5 days, and omeprazole + clarithromycin + tinidazole for other 5 days] and blindly randomized to receive either L. reuteri ATCC 55730 (10(8) CFU) or placebo. All children completed the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) at entry, during and after treatment. H. pylori status was assessed after 8 weeks by (13)C-urea breath test.
Results: Overall, in all probiotic supplemented children when compared with those receiving placebo there was a significant reduction of GSRS score during eradication therapy (4.1 +/- 2 vs. 6.2 +/- 3; P < 0.01) and at the end of follow-up (3.2 +/- 2 vs. 5.8 +/- 3.4; P < 0.009). Overall, children receiving L. reuteri report less symptoms than those receiving placebo.
Conclusion: L. reuteri is capable of reducing frequency and intensity of antibiotic-associated side-effects during eradication therapy for H. pylori.