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Lack of efficacy of Lactobacillus GG in reducing pulmonary exacerbations and hospital admissions in children with cystic fibrosis: A randomised placebo controlled trial.

  • 2018-05
  • Journal of Cystic Fibrosis 17(3)
    • E. Bruzzese
    • V. Raia
    • Eliana Ruberto
    • R. Scotto
    • A. Giannattasio
    • D. Bruzzese
    • M. C. Cavicchi
    • M. Francalanci
    • C. Colombo
    • N. Faelli
    • V. Daccò
    • G. Magazzù
    • S. Costa
    • V. Lucidi
    • F. Majo
    • A. Guarino


Background: Intestinal dysbiosis has been described in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and probiotics have been proposed to restore microbial composition. Aim of the study was to investigate the effects of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) on clinical outcomes in children with cystic fibrosis (CF).

Methods: A multicentre, randomised double-blind, clinical trial was conducted in children with CF. After 6months of baseline assessment, enrolled children (2 to 16years of age) received Lactobacillus GG (6×109CFU/day) or placebo for 12months. Primary outcomes were proportion of subjects with at least one pulmonary exacerbation and hospitalisation over 12months. Secondary endpoints were total number of exacerbations and hospitalisations, pulmonary function, and nutritional status.

Results: Ninety-five patients were enrolled (51/95 female; median age of 103±50months). In a multivariate GEE logistic analysis, the odds of experiencing at least one exacerbation was not significantly different between the two groups, also after adjusting for the presence of different microbial organisms and for the number of pulmonary exacerbations within 6months before randomisation (OR 0.83; 95% CI 0.38 to 1.82, p=0.643). Similarly, LGG supplementation did not significantly affect the odds of hospitalisations (OR 1.67; 95% CI 0.75 to 3.72, p=0.211). No significant difference was found for body mass index and FEV1.

Conclusions: LGG supplementation had no effect on respiratory and nutritional outcomes in this large study population of children with CF under stringent randomised clinical trial conditions. Whether earlier interventions, larger doses, or different strains of probiotics may be effective is unknown.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GGImproved Nutritional StatusNeutral
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GGImproved Pulmonary FunctionNeutral
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GGIncreased Hospital AdmissionsNeutral
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GGIncreased Incidence of Pulmonary ExacerbationsNeutral
Lactobacillus rhamnosus HA-11Improved Pulmonary FunctionNeutral
Lactobacillus rhamnosus HA-11Reduced HospitalisationNeutral
Lactobacillus rhamnosus HA-11Reduced Pulmonary ExacerbationsNeutral
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