Infants who received probiotics through 6 months of age had a significantly lower incidence of atopic dermatitis compared with controls, according to research published in American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.
The rate of atopic dermatitis has increased worldwide in recent years, with a prevalence of 10% to 20% in children, according to Lin Li, MD, and colleagues.
“The use of probiotics during both the prenatal and the postnatal period reduced the incidence of [atopic dermatitis]; however, studies without a prenatal component or a postnatal component failed to show a statistically significant decrease in the risk of [atopic dermatitis],” they wrote.
Infants and children were included in the literature review if probiotic exposure commenced in utero and/or after birth with no previous diagnosis of atopic dermatitis.
Twenty-seven randomized controlled trials and one controlled cohort article with 6,907 participants met the inclusion criteria for analysis. Prenatal probiotics were administered in one study, postnatal probiotics were administered in eight studies, and prenatal and postnatal probiotics were administered in 19 studies.
Atopic dermatitis occurred in 1,023 of 3,595 patients who received probiotics vs. 1,150 of 3,312 patients in the control group (P < .0001).
In infants and children in Asia and Europe, probiotic supplementation effectively prevented atopic dermatitis.
The specific probiotic strains of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Propionibacterium all appeared to reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis.
The researchers said that administering probiotics for more than 12 months after birth was not effective in preventing atopic dermatitis.
“Thus, we recommend that starting probiotic treatment in gestation and continuing through the first 6 months of life may have a more powerful benefit on the prevention of [atopic dermatitis],” they wrote. – by Abigail Sutton
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.