Probiotics in the treatment of atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome in infants: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial


Mirva Viljanen
The Skin and Allergy Hospital
University of Helsinki
Meilahdentie 2
00250 Helsinki


Background:  Probiotic bacteria are suggested to reduce symptoms of the atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome (AEDS) in food-allergic infants. We aimed to investigate whether probiotic bacteria have any beneficial effect on AEDS.

Methods:  Follow-up of severity of AEDS by the Severity Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index in 230 infants with suspected cow's milk allergy (CMA) receiving, in a randomized double-blinded manner, concomitant with elimination diet and skin treatment, Lactobacillus GG (LGG), a mixture of four probiotic strains, or placebo for 4 weeks. Four weeks after the treatment, CMA was diagnosed with a double-blind placebo-controlled (DBPC) milk challenge in 120 infants.

Results:  In the whole group, mean SCORAD (at baseline 32.5) decreased by 65%, but with no differences between treatment groups immediately or 4 weeks after the treatment. No treatment differences were observed in infants with CMA either. In IgE-sensitized infants, however, the LGG group showed a greater reduction in SCORAD than did the placebo group, −26.1 vs−19.8 (P = 0.036), from baseline to 4 weeks after the treatment. Exclusion of infants who had received antibiotics during the study reinforced the findings in the IgE-sensitized subgroup.

Conclusion:  Treatment with LGG may alleviate AEDS symptoms in IgE-sensitized infants but not in non-IgE-sensitized infants.