Early Probiotic Supplementation for Eczema and Asthma Prevention: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Pediatrics. 2017 Sep;140(3):e20163000. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-3000. Epub 2017 Aug 7.


Objectives: To determine if probiotic administration during the first 6 months of life decreases childhood asthma and eczema.

Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind controlled trial of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) supplementation on the cumulative incidence of eczema (primary end point) and asthma and rhinitis (secondary end points) in high-risk infants. For the first 6 months of life, intervention infants (n = 92) received a daily dose of 10 billion colony-forming units of LGG and 225 mg of inulin (Amerifit Brands, Cromwell, CT), and control infants (n = 92) received 325 mg of inulin alone. We used survival analysis methods to estimate disease incidences in the presence or absence of LGG and to estimate the efficacy of LGG in delaying or preventing these diseases.

Results: Infants were accrued over a 6-year period (median follow-up: 4.6 years; 95% retention rate at 2 years). At 2 years of age, the estimated cumulative incidence of eczema was 30.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 21.4%-40.4%) in the control arm and 28.7% (95% CI, 19.4%-38.0%) in the LGG arm, for a hazard ratio of 0.95 (95% CI, 0.59-1.53) (log-rank P = .83). At 5 years of age, the cumulative incidence of asthma was 17.4% (95% CI, 7.6%-27.1%) in the control arm and 9.7% (95% CI, 2.7%-16.6%) in the LGG arm, for a hazard ratio of 0.88 (95% CI, 0.41-1.87) (log-rank P = .25).

Conclusions: For high-risk infants, early LGG supplementation for the first 6 months of life does not appear to prevent the development of eczema or asthma at 2 years of age.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / prevention & control*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eczema / epidemiology
  • Eczema / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus
  • Male
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Analysis