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Keywords:

  • atopic dermatitis;
  • children;
  • immunoglobulin E;
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus;
  • probiotics;
  • quality of life

Background:  Some studies have suggested that supplementation of food with lactobacilli may prevent or improve atopic dermatitis in children. This study was designed to investigate the therapeutic effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) as a food supplement in infants suffering from atopic dermatitis.

Methods:  Infants aged 3–12 months suffering from mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis (severity scoring of atopic dermatitis or SCORAD index of 15–40) without current antiinflammatory treatment were randomized to receive LGG (5 × 109 colony forming units b.i.d.) or placebo as a food supplement for 12 weeks. Severity scoring of atopic dermatitis index and use of hydrocortisone 1% ointment as rescue medication (2 points per application) were recorded at 4, 8, and 12 weeks of treatment and combined as symptom load (SL).

Results:  Fifty-four infants (LGG group, mean ± SD SCORAD index 24.6 ± 8.8) and 48 infants (placebo group, SCORAD index 23.6 ± 7.8) were randomized and completed the treatment period (intention-to-treat analysis). Symptom load generally improved over time at 4 weeks (LGG vs placebo, 23.8 ± 12.4 vs 20.6 ± 9.9), 8 weeks (22.5 ± 14.6 vs 17.9 ± 13.1), and 12 weeks (19.6 ± 15.4 vs 15.1 ± 12.1), without statistically significant group differences. When stratified for age, eczema severity or use of rescue medication, no statistically significant group differences, in improvement, were found. No significant group differences were found for the use of rescue medication (0.8 ± 45.0 g vs 3.5 ± 29.8 g), increase in mean logarithmic total serum IgE (0.17 ± 0.30 kU/l vs 0.26 ± 0.45 kU/l), and newly developed allergic sensitization against hen’s egg or cow’s milk (18.8%vs 10.0%).

Conclusion:  This placebo-controlled trial showed no therapeutic effect of LGG against mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis in infancy.