*EMBARGOED All research presented at the World Congress of Gastroenterology at ACG2017 is strictly embargoed until Monday, October 16, 2017, at 8:00 am EDT.
Oral 50 Probiotics for the Management of Functional Abdominal Pain in Children: A Cochrane Systematic Review
Author Insight from from Morris Gordon, MBChB, MMed, PhD, University of Central Lancashire
What’s new here and important for clinicians?
This review was presented two years ago and publication delayed by an unprecedented 40% increase in the number of published randomized trials within just two years. This reflects the massive interest in the area of functional abdominal pain and the use of probiotics.
The key elements to highlight for clinicians is the relative robustness of the study findings on subgroup analysis and through a number of outcomes—success, frequency of pain and severity of pain all showed significant results compared with placebo. Additionally, no statistically significant safety concerns were found overall or in any individual study. Collectively, these results suggest that probiotics may be an agent to be used in this context. Future research is needed to instead focus on long-term impact and approaches to probiotic use.
What do patients need to know?
Probiotic are potentially beneficial bacteria. Many studies have suggested they may have a role in improving symptoms of chronic abdominal pain in children. In this systematic review, completed to the highest quality standards in the field (Cochrane), the agents have been found to be more effective than no intervention or placebo when subjected to combined analysis (meta-analysis). The key agents found to be effective were lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus GG (this does not suggest these are the only effective bacteria, but this is where the most research has been completed). No safety concerns were found in any individual trials or collectively. As these agents are often available without prescription to patients as “food supplement,” patients may find these results of particular interest.
Morris Gordon, MBChB, MMed, PhD, University of Central Lancashire
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