Infantile colic: a systematic review of medical and conventional therapies

J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Feb;48(2):128-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02061.x. Epub 2011 Apr 7.


Aim: Infantile colic is a prevalent and distressing condition for which there is no proven standard therapy. The aim of this paper is to review medical and conventional treatments for infantile colic.

Methods: A systematic literature review was undertaken of studies on medical and conventional interventions for infantile colic from 1980 to March 2009. The results and methodological rigour of included studies were analysed using the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards Of Reporting Trials) 2001 statement checklist and Centre for Evidence Based Medicine critical appraisal tools.

Results: Nineteen studies and two literature reviews were included for review. Pharmacological studies on Simethicone gave conflicting results and with Dicyclomine hydrochloride and Cimetropium bromide results were favourable but side effects were noted along with issues in study methodology. Some nutritional studies reported favourable results for the use of hydrolysed formulas in bottle-fed infants or low-allergen maternal diets in breastfed infants but not for the use of additional fibre or lactase. There were several issues in regards to methodological rigour. Behavioural studies on the use of increased stimulation gave unfavourable results, whereas results from the use of decreased stimulation and contingent music were favourable. These studies demonstrated poor methodological rigour.

Conclusion: There is some scientific evidence to support the use of a casein hydrolysate formula in formula-fed infants or a low-allergen maternal diet in breastfed infants with infantile colic. However, there is little scientific evidence to support the use of Simethicone, Dicyclomine hydrochloride, Cimetropium bromide, lactase, additional fibre or behavioural interventions. Further research of good methodological quality on low-allergenic formulas and maternal diets is indicated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifoaming Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Colic / drug therapy*
  • Colic / therapy*
  • Dicyclomine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula*
  • Parasympatholytics / therapeutic use*
  • Scopolamine Derivatives / therapeutic use
  • Simethicone / therapeutic use


  • Antifoaming Agents
  • Parasympatholytics
  • Scopolamine Derivatives
  • cimetropium
  • Dicyclomine
  • Simethicone