- For pediatric recurrent abdominal pain, probiotics might provide short-term relief, but supplemental fiber does not seem to help.
Why this matters
- Recurrent abdominal pain touches all aspects of QoL and affects up to 1 in 4 school-aged children.
- For this synopsis, authors updated earlier Cochrane review with 2 studies.
- 0-3 months after starting probiotics, children had pain improvement vs placebo:
- OR, 1.63 (95% CI, 1.07-2.47; 7 studies; n=772; evidence quality moderate).
- Number needed to treat: 8.
- Also decreased with probiotics at 0-3 months:
- Pain frequency: standardized mean difference (SMD), −0.55 (95% CI, −0.98 to −0.12; 6 trials; n=523); and
- Pain intensity: SMD, −0.50 (95% CI, −0.85 to −0.15; 7 trials; n=575); low-quality evidence for both.
- At 3-6 months (only 2 studies), pain also improved with probiotics (OR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.10-3.43; n=224; moderate-quality evidence).
- Fiber did not improve pain at 0-3 months (OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 0.92-3.65; 2 studies; n=136; low-quality evidence).
- Meta-analysis, 19 trials, n=1453 children at pediatric gastroenterology clinics, average ages 6.3-13.1 years.
- Outcomes: included pain improvement, intensity, frequency.
- Funding: National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research; Care South West Peninsula, UK.
- Low- to moderate-quality evidence, pain scales varied.