Probiotics and Eczema Study

Probiotics in prevention of IgE-associated eczema: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Abrahamsson, T.R., Jakobsson, T., Fagerås- Böttcher, M.F., Fredrikson, M., Jenmalm, M.C., Björkstén, B. and Oldaeus, G.

J Allergy Clin Immunol – 01-MAY-2007; 119(5): 1174-80.

Objectives: To study the prevention of eczema in infants at risk for eczema and allergic disorders by the use of a single strain of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri.

Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial was conducted using Lactobacillus reuteri (ATCC 55730, BioGaia AB, Stockholm, Sweden, 1×108CFU). 188 mothers (of 232 who began the study) were given the probiotic daily from week 36 of gestation until delivery. Infants were given the same probiotic daily for 12 months. The primary outcome measured was outright clinical allergic disease, irrespective of positive skin prick test or detectable circulating IgE to specific food allergens. Mothers were encouraged to breastfeed but data was not collected. Infants were followed for 2 years.

Results: The incidence of eczema was similar in treated (36%) and placebo groups (34%). The probiotic group had less IgE-associated eczema in their second year. (8% versus 20%, p= 0.02) Highest at-risk for allergy infants had significantly reduced skin prick test reactivity to food and environmental allergens (p=0.02).

Conclusions: Probiotic treated infants have a lower incidence of IgE-associated eczema at 2 years of age. It was speculated that this reduced the infants’ future risk of asthma and related atopic disease.