Efficacy of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in treatment of acute pediatric diarrhea: A systematic review with meta-analysis

World J Gastroenterol. 2019 Sep 7;25(33):4999-5016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v25.i33.4999.


Background: Diarrhea is a major infectious cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide. In clinical trials, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53013 (LGG) has been used to treat diarrhea. However, recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) found no evidence of a beneficial effect of LGG treatment.

Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of LGG in treating acute diarrhea in children.

Methods: The EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, Web of Science databases, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched up to April 2019 for meta-analyses and RCTs. The Cochrane Review Manager was used to analyze the relevant data.

Results: Nineteen RCTs met the inclusion criteria and showed that compared with the control group, LGG administration notably reduced the diarrhea duration [mean difference (MD) -24.02 h, 95% confidence interval (CI) (-36.58, -11.45)]. More effective results were detected at a high dose ≥ 1010 CFU per day [MD -22.56 h, 95%CI (-36.41, -8.72)] vs a lower dose. A similar reduction was found in Asian and European patients [MD -24.42 h, 95%CI (-47.01, -1.82); MD -32.02 h, 95%CI (-49.26, -14.79), respectively]. A reduced duration of diarrhea was confirmed in LGG participants with diarrhea for less than 3 d at enrollment [MD -15.83 h, 95%CI (-20.68, -10.98)]. High-dose LGG effectively reduced the duration of rotavirus-induced diarrhea [MD -31.05 h, 95%CI (-50.31, -11.80)] and the stool number per day [MD -1.08, 95%CI (-1.87, -0.28)].

Conclusion: High-dose LGG therapy reduces the duration of diarrhea and the stool number per day. Intervention at the early stage is recommended. Future trials are expected to verify the effectiveness of LGG treatment.

Keywords: Acute diarrhea; Children; Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG; Meta-analysis; Probiotics; Rotavirus; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Diarrhea / diagnosis
  • Diarrhea / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus*
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Time-to-Treatment
  • Treatment Outcome