Using a probiotic to treat colic in infants

Lactobacillus reuteri improved colicky symptoms in breastfed infants within 1 week of treatment according to a study published in the well-respected medical journal, Pediatrics.

It worked better than the often used therapy, simethicone (Mylicon).

The researchers chose to compare L reuteri to simethicone because it is used widely for infants with colic, even though it’s no better than placebo.

Here are the details.

  • 90 breastfed colicky infants were assigned randomly to L reuteri (108 live bacteria per day) or simethicone (60 mg/day).
  • Treatment duration was 28 days.
  • The mothers avoided cow’s milk in their diet.
  • The parents monitored daily crying times and adverse effects.

And the results

  • By day 7, there was significantly less crying in the L reuteri group.
  • On day 28, 95% of the infants in the probiotic group were still responders compared to 7% in the simethicone group.
  • No adverse effects were reported.

Infantile colic is one of the most common problems within the first 3 months of life. It affects 3% to 28% of newborns. Therefore, these findings are potentially important. More info from the University of Michigan Health System is here.

The main criticism of the study is that the parents knew which treatment their infants received. This might have influenced their reporting of crying times.

1/19/07 22:07 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.