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Probiotics have no effect on eczema

8th October 2008

New evidence from a team of UK researchers has suggested that the so-called 'friendly' bacteria found in yoghurt and health drinks has no effect on the symptoms of eczema.

The review of 12 studies involving nearly 800 children with eczema has also indicated that such bacteria may occasionally cause gut problems.

It found probiotics did nothing to ease itching and the rash, while in separate studies 46 patients reported side effects including infection and bowel damage.

Dr Robert Boyle of Imperial College London, who carried out the review for the Cochrane Collaboration, said: "There is no evidence that probiotics are a worthwhile treatment for eczema."

He said that they may even be harmful for certain groups of people, such as very young infants or others susceptible to infection, despite some doctors recommending probiotics to treat the skin problem.

The causes of eczema are known to be complex but the condition affects up to 5% of people at some time in their lives.

Experts said that more trials were needed into the long-term safety of the use of probiotics for eczema, though Dr Boyle added that it was possible that new probiotics yet to be studied, might have an effect.

Professor Ashley Woodcock, of Manchester University, said there is no data on the long-term impact/safety on the use of probiotics in young children.

The British Association of Dermatologists say there are many very well researched and effective treatments available for eczema and that sufferers should seek medical advice from their GP.

 

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