A new study shows that probiotics in the form of BioGaia´s Reuteri Drops protects prematurely born infants against infections caused by bacteria and yeast. Hospital stay for the infants was reduced to almost half compared to the control group, three weeks compared to six weeks.
Prematurely born infants are at risk of infection, and in neonatal intensive care wards this can affect 25-40% of infants. Yeasts, mainly Candida, are responsible for 10% of these infections and represent a serious threat to the infant's life.
The researchers wished to evaluate whether daily use of probiotics could influence the incidence of these kinds of infections. In total, 184 premature infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit immediately after delivery, were included in the study. The children were randomly allocated to one of three groups: 67 infants received BioGaia Reuteri Drops containing Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis (Reuteri), 55 infants received Lactobacilus rhamnosus GG (LGG), i.e. another probiotic, and 62 infants were treated only with the normal treatment (control group).
In both the groups that received daily probiotics, the risk of infection by yeast (Candida) was reduced. In the control group, 6.4% of the infants had infections compared to 1.4% in the Reuteri group and 3.6% in the LGG group. The incidence of bacterial infections was also reduced in the probiotic groups compared to the control group: 1.4% in the Reuteri group, 3.6% in the LGG group and 9.6% in the control group. For both types of infections the differences between the probiotic groups and the control group were statistically significant (P<0.05).
Only the Reuteri group displayed further effects such as weaning from intravenous nutrition ("drop") to normal feeding, which occurred earlier, and markedly fewer infants who were affected by gastro-intestinal problems, both compared to the control group (P<0.05). Gastro-intestinal symptoms were observed in 2 of 67 infants that were given Reuteri compared to 14 of 55 in the LGG group and 27 of 62 in the control group.
The investigators conclusions from the study were that both probiotics could prevent both bacterial and yeast infections. The Reuteri group had also further effects such as reduced occurrence of gastro-intestinal symptoms, earlier tolerance of food by mouth (intravenous nutrition could be stopped earlier), reduced weight loss during the first week of life, better growth during the first month of life and fewer days of hospitalisation.
The study was performed by Drs Romeo and Betta from the Department of Neonatal Intensive Care, Catania Univeristy Hospital in Italy. They presented their study at the 12th National Congress of the Italian Society for Neonatology.
This study shows that there are significant advantages in using Reuteri Drops in prematurely born infants. The shortened hospital stay involves major savings for the health care system.
BioGaia is a biotechnology company that develops, markets and sells probiotic products with documented health benefits. The products are primarily based on the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri (Reuteri), which has health-enhancing effects. The class B share of the Parent Company BioGaia AB is quoted on the O list of the Stockholm Stock Exchange.