Effect of Lactobacillus reuteri on atopic dermatitis and cow milk intolerance

A prospective, open study in children with mild atopic dermatitis aggravated by the intake of cow’s milk.

Fifteen children, 3-5 years old, were enrolled. They all had a clinical history of improvement of atopic dermatitis after removal of cow’s milk from the diet. Allergy to cow’s milk proteins was excluded by analyses of specific IgE against milk proteins and skin prick test. The children were re-challenged with cow’s milk whilst also receiving Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730 (2 tablets daily = 2 x 10^8 CFU, n=8), or no probiotic (n = 7) for a period of three months. During the first ten days of introduction of cow’s milk, antihistamine was prescribed daily for both groups and topical steroids and moisturisers were used when needed.

In the first two weeks all patients showed improvement of eczema and itching. However, during the rest of the study period none of the children in the Lactobacillus reuteri group showed aggravation of eczema or itching despite continued intake of milk. In the control group, all children showed worsening of the eczema and had to continue the use of antihistamines and topical steroids.

Conclusion: The daily intake of Lactobacillus reuteri during concomitant intake of cow’s milk for three months could prevent the aggravation of atopic dermatitis and itching in children where cow’s milk previously had been shown to worsen the eczema.



Cirillo Al., Boccia E, Cirillo Ar., Scotto G, Maiella D, De Crescenzo G, Leone G, Grimaldi S, Cirillo Ag. Effectiveness of Lactobacillus reuteri in patients with atopic dermatitis and cow milk intolerance. Preliminary study. Presented at the Italian Society for Clinical Allergy and Immunology (SIAIC) Congress, Rome, Italy, 4-7 May 2005. Abstract P-08.

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