Lactobacillus reuteri effectively reduces the duration of acute diarrhoea in hospitalised children
Background: Guidelines consider certain probiotics useful in the management of acute gastroenteritis. This study evaluated the use of Lactobacillus (L) reuteri DSM 17938.
Methods: A multicentre, randomised, single-blind clinical trial was performed in hospitalised children with acute gastroenteritis lasting 12-72 h. Children received conventional therapy with, or without, 1 × 108 CFU of L. reuteri DSM 17938 for 5 days. The primary endpoint was the duration of diarrhoea and secondary outcomes were days of hospitalisation and the percentage of children with diarrhoea after each day of treatment.
Results: We compared 64 children receiving L. reuteri with 63 controls. Lactobacillus reuteri reduced the duration of diarrhoea after 24 h (p < 0.001) and more diarrhoea-free children were seen in the L. reuteri than control group after 24 and 48 h (50% versus 5%, p < 0.001) and 72 h (69% versus 11%, p < 0.001). Lactobacillus reuteri reduced mean hospital stays (4.31 ± 1.3 days versus 5.46 ± 1.77 days, p < 0.001). Prolonged diarrhoea occurred in 17% of the controls, but none of the L. reuteri group. No adverse effects were reported.
Conclusion: Lactobacillus reuteri effectively reduced the duration of acute diarrhoea and hospital stays in children hospitalised with acute gastroenteritis. Outpatient data are now required.