Lactobacillus GG Linked to Benefits in Childhood IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome patients using probiotic have less frequent and severe abdominal pain

TUESDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) may reduce abdominal pain in children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), possibly due to improvement of the gut barrier, according to research published online Nov. 15 in Pediatrics.

Ruggiero Francavilla, M.D., of the University of Bari in Italy, and colleagues analyzed data from 141 children with IBS or functional abdominal pain. After a four-week run-in period, participants were randomized to receive LGG or placebo for eight weeks, then were followed for another eight weeks.

The researchers found that LGG was associated with less frequent and severe abdominal pain. The differences remained significant at the end of follow-up. At week 12, 48 children in the LGG group had attained treatment success, compared to 37 in the placebo group. In children with IBS, the probiotic was associated with an improvement in intestinal permeability. The investigators write that the reductions in abdominal pain associated with LGG may be secondary to gut barrier improvement.

"LGG significantly reduces the frequency and severity of abdominal pain in children with IBS. Therefore, as more probiotic compounds become available on the market or are in the process of being approved, demonstration of the efficacy of a given probiotic for a specific therapeutic target will help clinicians choose which probiotic to use when dealing with a specific disease. We are entering the era of targeted probiotic use," the authors conclude.

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