[Which treatments for infantile colics?]

Presse Med. 2012 Jul;41(7-8):e404-10. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2012.01.015. Epub 2012 Feb 24.
[Article in French]


Background: Infantile colics or excessive crying represent a source of stress for parents and a frequent reason for encounter in primary care.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of treatments of this syndrome from a systematic review.

Information sources: Medline, Cochrane and Embase databases.

Selection of studies: We used the following inclusion criteria: therapeutic assessment of infant colics or excessive crying, randomized controlled trials or meta-analyses, published in English or French language. Thirty-one randomized controlled trials and one meta-analysis have been included.

Results: Allopathic drugs have not proved effectiveness (simethicone, lactase) and some of them can cause potentially serious adverse reactions (dicyclomine). Protein hydrolysate or soy formulas seem to be effective, but soy milk can induce allergies. Sucrose solutions provide some benefit in studies with low level of evidence. Effectiveness is likely for a probiotics (Lactobacillus reuteri) and for herbal mixtures containing fennel extracts. Evidence is lacking for manual (osteopathy, acupuncture) and behavioural therapies (decreased stimulations, reassurance of parents).

Limitations: The definition of infantile colics and the methods used for crying measurement changed across trials. The included trials were of variable quality, especially with no double-blind procedure in 17 trials.

Conclusion: The most validated treatments for infantile colics are the substitution of cows' milk by a hydrolysed formula, the use of L. reuteri and of fennel extracts.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Colic / congenital
  • Colic / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome