Probiotics alleviate childhood eczema

A mixture of probiotics reduces the severity of atopic dermatitis and cuts topical steroid use, according to a Spanish randomised, double-blind trial.

The study enrolled 50 children aged four to 17 years with moderate atopic dermatitis. Patients took a probiotic capsule containing Bifidobacterium lactis CECT 8145, B. longum CECT 7347 and Lactobacillus casei CECT 9104 or placebo once daily for 12 weeks.

Atopic dermatitis severity, based on the SCORAD index, declined by 83 and 24 per cent in the probiotic and placebo groups respectively, while 96 and 46 per cent of children in the two groups showed improved SCORAD scores. Investigator Global Assessment showed a similar pattern: 91 and 21 per cent of patients in the probiotic and placebo groups respectively showed a response to treatment.

Patients used topical steroids to treat flares on 7.7 and 10.8 per cent of days in the probiotic and placebo groups respectively, a statistically significant difference. After adjusting for confounders, steroid use was 37 per cent less in the probiotic group.

The authors suggest the probiotic mixture could be used more extensively in clinical practice.

JAMA Dermatol doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.3647

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