A Mixture of 3 Bifidobacteria Decreases Abdominal Pain and Improves the Quality of Life in Children With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2017 Jan;51(1):e5-e10. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000528.


Goals: We assessed the efficacy of a probiotic mixture of Bifidobacterium infantis M-63, breve M-16V, and longum BB536 in improving abdominal pain (AP) and quality of life (QoL) in children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia (FD).

Background: AP-associated functional gastrointestinal disorders, particularly IBS and FD, are common in pediatrics, and no well-established treatment is currently available. Although probiotics have shown promising results in adults, data in children are heterogeneous.

Study: Forty-eight children with IBS (median age, 11.2 y; range, 8 to 17.9 y) and 25 with FD (age, 11.6 y; range, 8 to 16.6 y) were randomized to receive either a mixture of 3 Bifidobacteria or a placebo for 6 weeks. After a 2-week "washout" period, each patient was switched to the other group and followed up for further 6 weeks. At baseline and follow-up, patients completed a symptom diary and a QoL questionnaire. AP resolution represented the primary outcome parameter.

Results: In IBS, but not in FD, Bifidobacteria determined a complete resolution of AP in a significantly higher proportion of children, when compared with placebo (P=0.006), and significantly improved AP frequency (P=0.02). The proportion of IBS children with an improvement in QoL was significantly higher after probiotics than after placebo (48% vs. 17%, P=0.001), but this finding was not confirmed in FD.

Conclusions: In children with IBS a mixture of Bifidobacterium infantis M-63, breve M-16V, and longum BB536 is associated with improvement in AP and QoL. These findings were not confirmed in FD subjects. Trial identifier: NCT02566876 (http://www.clinicaltrial.gov).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Abdominal Pain / microbiology
  • Abdominal Pain / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Bifidobacterium*
  • Child
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dyspepsia / complications
  • Dyspepsia / microbiology
  • Dyspepsia / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / microbiology
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / therapy*
  • Male
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02566876