Aim: Lactobacillus reuteri is a Gram-positive bacterium that naturally inhabits the human intestinal tract. This study assessed how effectively the probiotic L. reuteri DSM 17938 managed childhood functional abdominal pain (FAP).
Methods: We recruited 54 children with a mean age 9.1 ± 3.8 years, who were diagnosed with FAP in the outpatient clinics of three university hospitals in Greece, Slovenia and Poland, according to the Rome III criteria, from January 2013 to December 2015. They were randomly assigned to receive either 2 × 108 colony-forming units of L. reuteri (n = 27) or a placebo (n = 27) for four weeks.
Results: Both L. reuteri and the placebo significantly reduced the frequency and intensity of abdominal pain episodes at four and eight weeks compared to baseline (all p < 0.001). L. reuteri decreased the use of pain relieving drugs at four weeks and the number of child school and adult work absences at four and eight weeks, unlike the placebo, which achieved nonsignificant results. However, the difference between the groups did not reach significance. No side effects were recorded.
Conclusion: Both L. reuteri and the placebo were effective in alleviating pain in children with FAP, but only L. reuteri improved the child's and family's normal activities.
Keywords: Lactobacillus reuteri; Functional abdominal pain; Pain relief; Placebo; Probiotics.
©2017 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.