Diarrhea treatment with either Lactobacillus GG (LGG) or smectite as an adjuvant to standard rehydration therapy has proven efficacy. In countries where both LGG and smectite are available, concomitant use is frequently practiced. We investigated whether LGG plus smectite is superior to LGG alone in the management of children with acute gastroenteritis (AGE). A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial was performed. Children aged 4 to 60 months with AGE received LGG 6×109 colony forming units/day plus randomly either smectite (3 g) or placebo as an adjuvant to the standard rehydration therapy. Of the 88 children randomized, 81 (92 %) were available for intention-to-treat analysis. The duration of diarrhea in the LGG/smectite group (n=44) compared with the LGG/placebo group (n=37) was similar (P=0.43). There were no significant differences between the study groups for the secondary outcomes, with three exceptions. On day 4, in the LGG/placebo group compared to the LGG/smectite group, there was significantly reduced stool frequency (P=0.03). While there was a significant (P=0.05) difference in stool consistency on the Bristol Stool Form Scale on day 4, it was not of clinical relevance. Finally, in the LGG/smectite group compared to the LGG/placebo group, there was a significantly shorter duration of intravenous therapy after randomization (P=0.02). No adverse events were observed in the study groups. Conclusion: LGG plus smectite and LGG alone are equally effective for treating young children with AGE. Combined use of the two interventions is not justified.
Keywords: LGG, Diosmectite, Dioctahedral smectite, Diarrhea, Infants, RCT