Background & objectives: Randomized controlled trials in developed countries have reported benefits of Lactobacillus GG (LGG) in the treatment of acute watery diarrhoea, but there is paucity of such data from India. The study was aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Lactobacillus GG in the treatment of acute diarrhoea in children from a semi-urban city in north India.
Methods: In this open labelled, randomized controlled trial 2000 children with acute watery diarrhoea, aged between 6 months to 5 years visiting outpatient department and emergency room of a teaching hospital in north India were enrolled. The children were randomized into receiving either Lactobacillus GG in dose of 10 billion cfu/day for five days or no probiotic medication in addition to standard WHO management of diarrhoea. Primary outcomes were duration of diarrhoea and time to change in consistency of stools.
Results: Median (inter quartile range) duration of diarrhoea was significantly shorter in children in LGG group [60 (54-72) h vs. 78 (72-90) h; P<0.001]. Also, there was faster improvement in stool consistency in children receiving Lactobacillus GG than control group [36 (30-36) h vs. 42 (36-48) h; P<0.001]. There was significant reduction in average number of stools per day in LGG group (P<0.001) compared to the control group. These benefits were seen irrespective of rotavirus positivity in stool tests.
Interpretation & conclusions: Our results showed that the use of Lactobacillus GG in children with acute diarrhoea resulted in shorter duration and faster improvement in stool consistency as compared to the control group.